Lawmakers in North Carolina Consider Legalizing Mobile Sports Betting
Lawmakers are split on the potential legalization of mobile sports betting in North Carolina, with some seeing it as a revenue source and others expressing concern over its potential negative impacts.
North Carolina could be the next state in the US to legalize mobile sports betting as state lawmakers prepare to file legislation this week. Governor Cooper hinted on Friday that North Carolina may legalize online sports betting this year, just ahead of the weekend that was busy with sports events. Speaking with reporters ahead of the NHL’s Carolina Hunters game, he confirmed that lawmakers in the state are currently working on legislation that seeks to introduce online sports betting.
Rep. Jason Saine echoed the governor’s optimism when he spoke to local press, saying that he believes Gov. Cooper is right about sports betting. Saine also explained that last session’s process helped identify matters that needed to be worked on with the legislation, as well as giving members time to talk to their constituents about the possibility of legalized sports betting.
Saine said that Democratic Reps. Ashton Clemmons, Zack Hawkins, and Michael Wray are working with him on the bill, as well as Republican House Majority Leader John Bell. While last year’s bill failed to pass the House, it did pass the Senate. Saine believes that the Senate will pass the bill again this year. Once the bill is filed this week, he expects it to move quickly through committees and head to the floor for a vote.
However, not everyone is in favor of legalizing mobile sports betting in North Carolina. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) was among those who voted against it. She remains concerned that it will not lead to a significant windfall of tax revenue for the state and thinks it goes too far in expanding gambling.
While some lawmakers are in favor of legalizing mobile sports betting in North Carolina, not everyone is on board. Representative Pricey Harrison, for example, proposed that betting should only be allowed in-person at professional sports venues before considering mobile sports betting. In a recent interview, she noted that there is a diverse group of individuals who are concerned about the potential negative impacts that expanded gambling could have on the state. She cautioned against the belief that legalized sports betting would be a significant revenue source for North Carolina, saying that it won't be.
Despite Harrison's concerns, bill sponsors estimate that legalizing mobile sports betting could bring in up to $50 million in revenue for the state. However, a non-partisan analysis of an early version of the bill projected a more modest range of $8 million to $24 million. As lawmakers continue to debate the issue, the exact financial impact of legalized sports betting on North Carolina remains to be seen.