Published: June 20, 2022

North Carolina House may back daily double on sports gambling legislation

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – The North Carolina House next week could take up a bill passed by the Senate that would expand sports gambling in North Carolina.

Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Whitsett), the House majority whip, gave that indication in a text message Thursday to WGHP.

“Sports betting seems likely to move next week,” he wrote.

Senate Bill 688 passed the state Senate last August on a 26-19 vote, but it was far from along party lines.

Nine Republicans – including Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) – voted for the bill, but Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Kernersville) and Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance) were among those against. Four Democrats voted against the bill, including Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Greensboro).

Her seatmate, Sen. Michael Garrett (D-Greensboro), was on of the bill’s secondary sponsors, so you can see that this measure was far from clear-cut politically.

That also seems to be an issue in the House, where last week the Judiciary Committee created an accompanying Senate Bill 38, sponsored by Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) to make changes in the original bill by doubling licensing fees to $1 million, drastically increasing renewal fees (from $100,000 to $1 milion). All of that increases revenue by $8 milion, to about $24 milion, WRAL reported.

There are 30 states with live, legal sports gambling, reports. North Carolina is included on that list because the state has four licensed casinos on Indigenous Peoples’ property – two in Cherokee, one in Murphy and one in King’s Mountain.

Five states are in transition, three have prefiled legislation and the rest are not actively pursuing legalized gambling, which is mostly Southern states.

One of the reasons the bill didn’t get immediate traction in the House is that there were questions about whether gambling would create as much revenue as it should. Virginia last year collected $26.7 million in sports gambling revenue.

Saine’s bill addresses that and projects the state to realize up to $11 million in revenue by 2025-26 through an 8% tax on gross revenue plus a new fund established through the bill called the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund.

“The sports betting bill is caught up in a larger negotiation between the House and Senate leadership,” Garrett wrote in a text message to WGHP. “I do think it has a strong chance of passing before the short session ends.”

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