Sports Betting Expert
Legal sports betting in the state of North Carolina is limited to retail sportsbooks in two tribal casinos. However, there is an ongoing effort to bring legal online sports betting to the Tar Heel State. One prominent state figure backing that effort is Governor Roy Cooper.
As part of a recent statement concerning this issue, Governor Cooper simply stated “it is about time” for legal mobile wagering.
The state Senate in North Carolina passed the proper legislation in 2021, but that bill eventually stalled in the state House. Behind the support of the governor, many state lawmakers believe that something can get done in the 2022 legislative session.
Given the fact that sports betting is legal at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino, an important precedent has already been set. The proposed legislation would expand the market to include 10 to 12 sportsbook operators. This expansion would be in addition to sportsbooks at tribal casinos.
Senate Bill 688 has provisions for both retail and mobile operators in the state. Retail sportsbooks could be expanded to sports facilities that are tied to in-state professional teams.
The NFL’s Carolina Panthers play their home games at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets play at Spectrum Center in the Uptown section of the city. The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes are situated in Raleigh and they play at PNC Arena.
All three of these sports venues would be able to offer retail sports betting under the new law. The other available licenses would be reserved for mobile sportsbook operators covering the entire state.
For now, SB 688 is the only piece of legislation under consideration for expanding legal sports betting. As support continues to grow, proponents of the bill remain confident that it can pass in the state House this time around.
Back in November of 2021, SB 688 cleared the Commerce Committee in the North Carolina House. From there, it moved to the House’s Judiciary Committee. At this point in time, the issue is still waiting for a hearing.
With Governor Cooper coming out in favor of SB 688, that could be the necessary push needed to move things forward. The issue at hand comes down to politics. Governor Cooper is a Democrat and North Carolina’s state legislature is still controlled by Republicans.
Lawmakers in favor of SB 688 are hoping for bi-partisan cooperation in this matter. The success of legal sports betting in neighboring states such as Tennessee and Virginia could also help the cause.
Tennessee launched legal online betting in November of 2020. At that time, there was strong support from both parties. With a Democratic governor and state legislature in control, Virginia went live with mobile sportsbooks in January of 2021.
In the absence of land-based casinos, each of these two neighboring states only offer legal sports betting through mobile sportsbook apps.
Legal mobile sports betting in North Carolina is completely tied to SB 688 as the present time. Any positive movement within the House Judiciary Committee would be viewed as a major step forward towards getting this piece of legislation passed.
Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.