North Carolina is the latest state to look at legalizing sports betting, and there appears to be plenty of support for the industry. Senate Bill 688 is a bipartisan bill legislators hope will make online sports betting an option in the state.
The bill was co-sponsored by Paul Lowe Jr. and Jim Perry, and there is a chance that sports betting could become legal as soon as October. North Carolina lawmakers will be in session until the end of June, and this should provide enough time to get a bill passed.
Sports betting has not been a real topic of discussion in the past, but pressure from other states has brought this to the table. The North Carolina State Lottery Commission would be in charge of the new industry should a law be enacted.
North Carolina does have a strong sports tradition, and professional sports in the state are expected to show support for the bill. A study was done on sports betting in 2019, and that report suggested that the industry would do well in the Tar Heel State.
Tribes Already Taking Bets
Even though this is the first time that a sports betting bill has been brought to the table in North Carolina, there is already sports betting taking place in the state. Tribal casinos offer retail sports betting after making an updated gaming compact agreement with the state.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is offering sports betting at its two Harrah’s Casino locations, and the first bets were placed in early March. Statewide in-person sports betting is not included in this bill, but allowing online betting would provide a huge revenue boost.
SB 688 Details
Most sports betting bills have very few details when they are first introduced, but that’s not the case with SB 688. In this bill, the state would be able to issue up to 10 online sports betting licenses, and tribal casinos could also offer this form of betting.
SB 688 also outlines the types of betting markets available, including professional sports, college sports, and esports. Amateur sporting events are also included as a part of this bill, but that will likely provide some debate in the coming weeks.
The proposed tax rate for online sports betting was set at just eight percent, and that number should attract some of the top operators in the U.S.
Competition in the Area
The Midwest portion of the United States saw plenty of sports betting growth in 2019 and 2020, but 2021 could be the year for the Southeast. North Carolina would be facing some stiff competition if the state were to legalize sports betting.
Tennessee launched sports betting on November 1, 2020, and that state was setting records for the first few months. The Volunteer State has online-only sports betting, but the growth and total betting handle has been tremendous.
Virginia was one of the latest states to launch online sports betting, and that state could become one of the biggest in the United States by the end of 2021.