After failed attempts in 2022 lawmakers double down on legalizing sports betting

The new bill could legalize sites like DraftKings in NC.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sports betting in North Carolina is getting another chance and some are hoping their efforts pay off. Lincoln County Representative Jason Saine filed House Bill 347 or the Sports Wagering Bill in the General Assembly on Monday and if it passes those who want to participate in sports betting would no longer need to go to a casino or out of state to do it.

Last year a bill introduced to the North Carolina House of Representatives fell short --- and the bill turned into a bust. Previous attempts in other years have also failed to get enough support for sports booking.

Now, Saine and a few other representatives are hopeful their renewed efforts will pay dividends and keep millions of dollars within the state.

“First and foremost it would allow for us to recapture money that’s going outside of our borders,” he said.

“We’ve got data that shows that there are North Carolinians who are driving across the border into Virginia, who are using web services that are ending around in geolocation and and betting on offshore with offshore accounts.”

Related: Plans to legalize sports betting could surface in the Carolinas next year

Online sports betting has grown in popularity sports booking companies like DraftKings and FanDuel are household names. The sportsbook companies have become so popular that in 2021 the NFL announced a three-way partnership with DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Entertainment as the official sports betting partners of the NFL.

Nathan Click, spokesman for The Sports Betting Alliance said the organization has worked to help provide safe access to sports betting and hopes to do the same in North Carolina.

“We look forward to working with the legislature to establish a safe and responsible online sports betting market in North Carolina. In over half the country, legal online sports betting platforms are providing fans a safe and responsible way to place bets -- all while generating significant revenue for state and local priorities,” Click said.

“Currently, North Carolinians can only place online sports bets with illegal offshore sports betting websites -- unsafe and illicit enterprises that offer consumer protections and provide no benefit to North Carolina communities. North Carolina residents deserve a safe, responsible and legal online sports betting market.”

Saine said by legalizing sports wagering the state could prevent illegal betting operations.

“We do know that it exists we just don’t know to what extent because we haven’t made it legal,” he said.

The bill itself would not allow sports books to open up shops across the state, it would be limited to online access and through kiosks at venues where events are held.

“Notwithstanding any provision of Article 37 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, sports wagering, including parimutuel wagering, as authorized by this Article shall not be considered unlawful. All sports wagering authorized under this Article shall be placed via an interactive account,” the bill reads.

It wouldn’t be a free-for-all though, only sports betting on professional and college sports would become legal, so betting on a little league game is out of the question.

Participants will have to be at least 21-years-old in order to place a bet

Right now, the only gambling legal in the state is through the N.C. Education Lottery, at casinos located on Native American land, or low-stakes bingo and raffle games with proceeds going to a nonprofit or charity cause. Any other type of betting is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Lawmakers say by legalizing sports betting systems in the state will help increase revenue through taxes, add new jobs, and increase tourism to the state.

The bill is still young and will need to pass through several votes and committees before it can even go to the NC Senate, but if the support is there, North Carolinians could join more than 15 other states legalizing interactive gambling.

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