North Carolina on Tuesday became the latest state to get a sports betting bill through one chamber of its general assembly when the Senate approved SB 154. The bill passed, 43-7, on second reading Tuesday and again on third reading. It will now go to the House.
North Carolina is the third state to move a bill out of one legislative chamber. The Indiana Senate approved SB 552 in February, and earlier this week the House Ways and Means Committee sent it to the House floor. No date for a vote has been set.
In Montana, three different sports betting bills have moved out of the House (two bills) and Senate (one), and are working their ways through the other chamber. It’s expected that the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee will pass the House bills Thursday, sending them to the Finance Committee and then onto the Senate floor.
Race to legalize first in 2019
The question of which state will legalize first in 2019 is an open one — and North Carolina wasn’t even on most experts’ radars. But the two-page bill that would allow sports betting at two North Carolina Indian casinos moved swiftly through the Senate. It was filed on February 27.
Boom. #sportsbetting The state mostly likely to legalize next — Montana — wasn’t even in our Top 15 three months ago, receiving just a single vote from West Virginia House Delegate Shawn Fluharty. https://t.co/NAdcGsJSTM
— Shawn Fluharty (@WVUFLU) April 9, 2019
The bill has not yet been assigned to a House committee, but lawmakers appear to have plenty of time, as the general assembly does not adjourn until mid-July.
North Carolina’s bill would not allow for online or mobile sports betting, which has been proven to be where the real money is in legal sports betting. To date, consumers can bet online only in New Jersey and Nevada, though it is legal but not yet launched in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. In New Jersey, mobile sports betting accounted for 80.8 percent of handle in February.
The bill would legalize sports betting and betting on horse racing at two casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It would allow for betting on college and professional sports, but does not indicate what the tax rate or the regulatory body would be. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, tribal gaming employs 4,000 people in North Carolina and the tribes have contributed millions to the state.
“It is expected it will enhance the revenue of the tribe about $14 million a year, and that will yield about $1 million to the state,” said Davis told the News & Observer. Davis sponsored the bill.