For now, sports betting is set to remain banned in North Carolina – that was the final decision of the state’s Legislature following a dramatic series of votes that took place last night.
By a single vote, a bill seeking to legalize sports betting in the state was approved in the North Carolina House, which then shot down a separate bill. Unfortunately, the bill that initially passed the legislative chamber was contingent on the passage of the other piece of legislation in order to become law. With the second legislative measure failing to pass North Carolina’s Legislature, sports betting will now remain prohibited in the state.
The complex consideration and voting process on June 22nd has left the supporters of the sports betting expansion in the state with a few questions to answer when it comes to their further strategy. They have started wondering whether they should try to make some changes and win over the single vote they need in order for the bill to pass, or they should wait until after the 2022 elections, the winter legislative session, or the following year when new lawmakers will reside in office.
Original Sports Betting Bill Received North Carolina Senate’s Approval
The main reason for the confusion of the sports betting expansion measure’s proponents is the fact there are two sports betting pieces of legislation advancing at the local Legislature – the original bill known as SB688, and the new bill that is only a vehicle for making the necessary amendments to the original bill, SB38. As mentioned above, the original bill was already given the green light by the Senate but on June 22nd failed to pass North Carolina House, with 50 “in favor” and 51 “against” votes. To make things even more complex, SB38 has not been passed by the Senate yet, while the House passed the measure by a vote of 51 to 50 last night.
The new bill features several changes that were proposed by the House in the last few days, such as the implementation of higher taxes and fees on gambling and sports betting operators in North Carolina, as well as a ban on betting on amateur and collegiate sports.
Although the loss in the vote, the main sponsor of the bill – Representative Jason Saine – said that sports betting is set to remain an issue for North Carolina. According to him, the local Legislature should seriously consider the expansion of the state’s gambling sector, otherwise, North Carolina would continue to lose money to other states.
Proposed Sports Betting Measure Gets Bipartisan Support and Opposition
Both SB688 and SB38 got bipartisan support and opposition, with members of the Republican and the Democratic Party winding some unexpected allies among each other.
Members of opposite parties, such as Republican Representative John Szoka and Democratic Representative Wesley Harris, spoke in favor of the bill. The supporters of the proposed piece of legislation cited the financial benefits that the addition of sports betting is expected to bring to the tax revenues of North Carolina, as well as the general trend that other US states have been rapidly moving into legalizing the new form of gambling following the 2018 decision of the US Supreme Court to strike down the federal ban on sports betting.
Other members of the Legislature, such as Democratic Representative Pricey Harrison and Republican Representative Larry Pittman voted against the proposed gambling expansion, with both of them giving impassioned speeches against the bill. They have cited the potential negative impact that the addition of sports betting could bring to society, such as increased problem gambling rates.
Many lawmakers from both the Republican and the Democratic Party skipped the vote, with both sports betting measures receiving only 101 votes, while there are 120 House members.