With a Looming Legislative Session Deadline North Carolina Online Sports Betting Future Gets Murky

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The deadline to pass a North Carolina online sports betting bill is looming in the near future. Last month, at the start of the legislative session, it appeared that sports betting in the state was on the fast track to legalization. Now, there have been several weeks without any movement on the legal North Carolina sports betting front.

The legislative session began on May 18. At that time, it was reported that a piece of legislation to legalize online sports betting in North Carolina, SB 688, could be finished in under a month. But, despite these strong headwinds, the bill has seen no progress during this time.

Now, legislators are rubbing up against a June 30th legislative session deadline. This legislation, SB 688, has spent almost a year waiting to be finished. Last summer, back in August of 2021, the sports betting bill passed in the North Carolina state Senate. In the fall of 2021, the legislation made it through the first North Carolina state House committee.

At this time, the bill still needs to pass through two more House committees as well as to pass on the North Carolina state House floor. Any amendments that may be added would also require the approval of the state Senate.

However, despite this inaction, many are still optimistic about the bill’s chances in 2022. At this time, it has been reported that the bill awaits new language regarding some technical issues. So, if this new language is finished in time, the bill still has some life left before June 30.

SB 688 would create ten to twelve North Carolina online sports betting licenses. The bill’s rate of taxation is currently at 8%, but that is also being discussed. Some legislators are hoping to raise that tax rate prior to seeing the bill go to a vote.

There are other obstacles in the way to get the bill to a vote by the legislation session deadline. At this time, there are a few issues where legislators need to get on the same page. The hope from those in charge is to get the bill right on the first try, putting added pressure on SB 688.

Last year, the North Carolina legislators saw a long legislative session. So, the lawmakers are not keen to see that happen again. At this time, the biggest issue they are working on is completing the North Carolina state budget.

Last year, in 2021, two retail sportsbooks were opened by two tribal casinos located in the western part of the state. The tribal sports betting law was passed back in 2019 by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Sports betting in the state is supported by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. North Carolina sports betting also has strong allies in the professional sports teams located in the state, who have thrown their support behind the legislation. However, the residents of North Carolina are not fully onboard with sports betting in the state, having shown to be faily split on the issue.

It remains to be seen whether online sports betting in North Carolina will be legalized this year before the legislative session ends this summer.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.