North Carolina sports betting is about to become a reality following the approval of a bill that will allow retail wagering in the jurisdiction. The bill, SB 154, cleared the House by a vote of 90-27 on Monday, and it is now headed to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk for action.
If signed into law, the new legislation will allow sports betting and horse wagering at two tribal casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The first of the two properties is Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel, which is located just outside of Murphy, NC. The second facility is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee. Caesars Entertainment operates both casinos.
Speaking about Monday’s passage, Sen. Jim Davis, who is one of the biggest proponents of gaming expansion in the state, praised the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for their economic contribution to North Carolina’s Western region. The lawmaker added that he was happy to play a part in the legalization process. Davis was the primary sponsor of SB 154.
Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to sign the bill into law within 30 days.
Legislators oppose proposal to ban bets on college teams
The newly approved NC sports betting bill was up for passage on Thursday last week, but the vote was delayed following a proposal to add a clause that would ban wagering on collegiate sports tournaments.
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The amendment was proposed by Rep. Julia Howard, but it was opposed by Sen. Jim Davis and Rep. Kevin Corbin. In their arguments, the two lawmakers said that prohibiting college wagering would take away more than half of the bets expected to be placed at the casinos.
College teams have a huge fan base in the state, with teams from the University of North Carolina and Duke University leading in popularity.
Corbin and Davis succeeded in convincing Howard to withdraw the amendment before Monday passage.
Gaming Commission bills are On Track
Separate legislation that will authorize the formation of a North Carolina Gaming Commission is in the Senate for consensus, and it could clear the chamber as soon as Tuesday.
The bill, SB 574, is a modified version of HB 929, which was introduced by Representative Harry Warren in April. The legislation seeks to create a regulatory body to oversee various gambling activities in the state, including bingo, lottery, boxing, and raffle.
On the other hand, Rep. Harry Warren’s proposed legislation is still under consideration, and it is likely that the state’s lawmakers will approve both bills.
The difference between the two bills is that HB 929 will allow the NC Gaming Commission to carry out a feasibility study on the impact of legalizing sports wagering in the jurisdiction.
Regulation of DFS left out of the final bill
Initially, HB 929 contained language that instructed the North Carolina Gaming Commission to regulate betting on Daily Fantasy Sports, but the clause did not make the final cut.
Rep. Warren revealed that the portion was left out of the final draft because some legislators raised concerns about legalizing the activity.
Other modifications to the bill include the removal of Video Lottery Terminals and the exemption of tribal gaming from regulation by the gaming commission.