Time seems to be running out for North Carolina sports bettors hoping to wager on the 2022 NFL season. Sports betting was legalized within the state by Senate Bill 688 last August, but only two tribal casinos located on the state’s western border have been given the OK to run games. These casinos are partnered with Caesars Sportsbook, and only offer retail wagering.

Mobile sports betting is still illegal in the state, so customers will have very limited options in terms of betting on events throughout the year. Many are hoping for a rushed legalization process in order to be able to bet on the upcoming NFL season, but mobile betting may not be available to them until the beginning of 2023.

Stuck in the House

Since the Senate bill was passed with a vote of 26-19 in August of 2021, it is up to the House to revise and pass its House Bill 688 to legalize retail and online betting throughout the state. So far, it has been stuck in committee, and with the legislative session ending on June 30th, many operators and bettors fear that they’ll miss out on all 2022 sporting events.

The House Judiciary Committee last commenced on June 2nd, but the online sports betting bill was not discussed, even though many House members had stated their beliefs that the bill would be passed relatively easily prior to the legislative session. Once betting is legalized, it will most likely take five to six months for wagering to actually launch.

Breakdown of House Bill 688

Once the bill is passed, online and retail sports betting will be legalized throughout the entire state. Currently, HB 688 calls for 10-12 operators to be licensed for mobile sports betting apps and online wagering, and current tribal casinos would also be offered online betting licenses. BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel all are expected to move into the state upon legalization.

Once legalized, online sportsbooks will be taxed 8% of their gross revenue. Operators will be required to pay $500,000 for a five-year license and will be able to renew their license every year after for $100,000.

The South has been facing a great amount of difficulty in terms of state-by-state sports betting legalization. Over the past few years, setbacks have occurred in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Only Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi have legalized sports betting out of the 11 states competing in the Southeastern Conference.

Cooper’s in favor

Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has often voiced his support for sports betting legalization throughout his time in office. Once the bill is passed, Cooper will have 10 days to approve or deny it. In February, he stated:

“It’s here whether we like it or not…The issue is will North Carolina be on the cutting edge for the technology jobs and other employment that it will create and be able to get state taxpayers their cut, or are we just going to let it happen all around us? I think it’s time for us to step up and do it.”

 


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