The bills led to an even fiercer debate on the House floor, and hopes of legalizing mobile sports betting ultimately fell apart. The NC General Assembly will meet several times before the end of the year for a single day, but it seems unlikely they will take another stab at sports betting. SB 38 COULD BE REVISITED The next step for proponents could be to revisit SB 38. Lawmakers could strip the wording that makes it dependent on SB 688, bolster the language contained within it to pave the way for a robust online sports betting industry in the Tar Heel State and then send it onto the House and the Senate for consideration. Concessions could be made. For example, an amendment could prevent online sportsbooks in North Carolina from accepting credit card payments. That is the case in Iowa. Yet advocates will need to work hard to win over the critics.
State Rep. Larry Pittman said that Jesus would have opposed the bills, while Rep. Abe Jones called mobile sports betting “pure, simple, straight-up wrong.” SB 688 would have permitted 10-12 online sportsbooks to launch in North Carolina. The likes of FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM would presumably be keen on launching in the state, which is the ninth largest in the country by population – ahead of major sports betting jurisdictions such as Michigan and New Jersey.
Governor Roy Cooper is supportive of sports betting, but lawmakers could not get a bill to his desk this year. That will disappoint the state’s professional sports teams – the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Hurricanes – who have lobbied for legal sports wagering, along with Charlotte Motor Speedway.
OTHER ALTERNATIVES FOR NC BETTORS In the meantime, sports bettors in North Carolina will continue heading to Virginia or Tennessee to place their legal online wagers. Otherwise, they would be forced to use illegal offshore operators with no legal protections. Proponents of mobile sports betting argue that the black market in the Tar Heel State is vast and that consumers lack protection, but it may take an even more compelling argument to eventually sway the representatives that contested SB 688.
RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING Always gamble responsibly. All licensed and legal operators in the United States have resources available to bettors, including educational guides on how to spot problem gaming, links to support services and tools to self-exclude for a set period of time. Support is available at the National Council on Problem Gaming, 1-800-GAMBLER and American Addiction Centers. Be sure to only wager on gambling sites that are licensed and regulated by the gaming regulatory body in your state. That ensures games are fair, bets are honored, customers’ funds are secure and that there are legal protections for the consumer. Sports betting and gambling are not legal in all locations. Be sure to comply with laws applicable where you reside.