No Mobile Sports Betting in North Carolina as SB 688 Fails

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An effort to bring mobile sports betting to North Carolina has seen its ups and downs this legislative session in 2022. The movement seemed to progress recently and had proponents of mobile sports betting in the state hopeful. However, now, it seems that the proposal is dead in the water for 2022.

A few days ago, the North Carolina mobile sports betting push saw its untimely end. In less than twenty four hours, sports betting bills in the state managed to progress through three committees. However, the state House in North Carolina then held a hearing on two sports betting bills that had found a good deal of momentum. 

The platform bill that would be required to create the foundation for mobile sports betting in the state, Senate Bill 688, found itself in a second reading vote where representatives voted against it. The vote was close, finding a majority only by one vote, with the numbers coming out to 51 against and 50 for. A short while after, a reconsideration vote that would have sent the bill back to the Rules, Calendar and Operations committee also failed by a vote of 59 to 44.

However, the North Carolina state House did push forward the sports betting companion bill, Senate Bill 38 during its second reading. But, this progress does not mean anything as the bill required Senate Bill 688 in order to be able to be enacted. This means that this North Carolina sports betting effort has now been killed for this year.

This development kills progress that has been in the works for a while. Back in 2021, Senate Bill 688 was able to pass the state Senate as well as its first state House committee. This gave proponents of sports betting in the state hope, even when the bill sat without movement during the opening weeks of the 2022 legislative session.

SB 688 included creating ten to twelve online sports betting licenses in the state. It also allowed for the creation of sports betting lounges at professional sports venues in North Carolina.

The bill found a good amount of opposition on the floor of the state House. On the House floor, a number of long diatribes against SB 688 took place. This included opposition from North Carolina Representative Larry Pittman, who not only brought up Jesus in his rebuke, he also hinted at a comparison between sports betting and the monetization of human trafficking.

State Representative Pricey Harrison made her opinion known as she told the House floor she felt that sports betting would not be good for the state. In addition, state Representative Marcia Morey indicated that she felt the legislation had been rushed considering that sports betting is an industry where its consumers tend to lose their money. State Representative Abe Jones also voiced his opposition on the grounds of moral values as well as his worry that sports betting in the state could lead to things like prostitution and other kinds of exploitation. 

State Senator Michael Garrett has stated that sports betting is a part of a larger negotiation between the two chambers of the state’s government. A sponsor for SB 688, state Senator Jim Perry told the committees a few days ago that the feedback they have received from the state government as well as the governor’s office had helped to inform the creation of SB 38, the new trailer bill. SB 38 increases the financial impact of sports betting for North Carolina.

SB 38 would increase the tax rate on sports betting revenue from 8% in the original bill to 14%. It would also raise the license fee for a sports betting license to twice the amount, from $500,000 to a whopping $1 million.

A sponsor of the bill for the House, Representative Jason Saine stated a few days ago that the two bills work together and both would need to be passed to be able to move to the governor’s desk. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has indicated that he supports the North Carolina sports betting legislation.

North Carolina does have retail sports betting at its two tribal-owned casinos. But, it appears that mobile sports betting in the state is not in the cards at this time.

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