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Sports Betting Bill Passes First Reading in North Carolina
Sports betting is on the verge of approval in North Carolina. The state’s senate approved a bill during the first reading. This bill could soon see the state open doors for licensing of sports betting operators.
North Carolina’s Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill
Sports bettors in North Carolina could soon have up to 12 licensed betting operators to choose from. This is after the Senate passed a bill to approve their existence. These operators will offer both online and land-based sports wagering. But the approval didn’t come without a fight. Many Republicans voted against the bill with only nine of them voting in its favor. This ensured the bill would advance to the House after a 26-19 vote in its favor. What this approval means is the licensing of between 10 and 12 sports betting operators by the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission.
Bettors can look forward to January as an ideal timeline when they can start betting on their favorite sports. Operators will have the go-ahead to offer professional and amateur sporting events. That includes game outcomes and other markets aside from the final score. Licensees will also have the permission to establish their facilities close to sports arenas or locations holding annual pro golf competitions.
Up to $24 Million in Wagering Revenue Expected Annually
Licensees will have to pay an 8% tax of their gross gaming revenue to North Carolina’s government. Half of this amount will go toward a special fund set up to support sporting activities in the state. These funds will also boost the other regular needs as well as attractions within the state.
The fiscal staff in the legislature estimated gambling revenue in the state could be between $8 and $24 million after approval. But Spectrum Gaming released an estimate of the predicted revenue collection from gambling. And it was in the billions. Legislators also passed an amendment to set aside at least $1 million to cater to gambling addiction.
Young People at Risk of Problem Gambling, Opposers Argue
The debate around problem gambling among young people wasn’t going to miss out during the vote in the House. Senator Jim Burgin was among the Republicans who opposed the bill. The senator said the bill would target the young population which would then result in little revenue from gambling.
John Rustin also expressed their opposition to the bill on Thursday. The executive director at the North Carolina Family Council said the bill’s approval meant gambling is now state-sanctioned. A move they said would lead to increased problem gambling. Their opinion is the state would be swimming in advertisements and promotions urging people to gamble.
The People are Already Gambling, Supporters Hit Back
But supporters are already gambling. This is according to the supporters who say people use mobile apps offering betting from outside the state. Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by East Carolina University revealed that 54% of all residents are in favor of sports wagering. The supporters say approving the bill will allow these bettors to use state-sanctioned licensees. This will ensure the state profits from the collected revenue by channeling these funds toward local public education and local needs.
Senator Phil Berger supported the bill saying it’s crucial they allow the House to work on the necessary legislation. Republican Senator Jim Perry said people are already betting as their decision. Perry also stated they expect the supporters of the bill to raise the 8% tax to increase revenue collection.