Is North Carolina online sports betting stalling out?
As time is running out on the latest North Carolina legislative session, the hopes for North Carolina online sports betting may be dwindling as well.
The Senate approved online sports betting bill (SB 688) has been sitting in House Judiciary Committee 1 with no discussion since lawmakers convened on May 18. The committee will not meet today during its usually scheduled date, which means the bill will go another week without any movement.
The bill must move through several committees before it can be heard by the House floor. This latest delay has pushed the potential legislation ever closer to the June 30 legislative session deadline.
NC online sports betting bill stuck in committee
The bill was approved by the Senate late year and was immediately moved to House Judiciary Committee 1, where it has yet to be placed on a committee agenda.
The committee typically meets each Tuesday at 3 p.m. but will not meet today. An aide for Sen. Paul A. Lowe, Jr. (D-32), the primary sponsor of the bill, told Saturday Down South the piece of legislation does not appear on any legislative calendar for the committee, but its status could change moving forward.
If the bill isn’t discussed soon, it could die in committee and leave North Carolina with yet another year without online sports betting.
Lawmakers showed early confidence in bill passage
The online sports betting bill was approved by the Senate last August by a vote of 26-19. Because the state legislative session runs for two years, the bill can still be considered in 2022.
If approved and signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper (D), the bill will allow between 10 to 12 online sports betting operators and set the online sports betting tax rate at 8%. In addition to casinos, the law includes language that will allow North Carolina professional sports facilities, race tracks, and PGA-event golf courses to offer online sports betting.
Early in the session, lawmakers expressed confidence in the bill being approved and online sports betting potentially launching by football season.
In an interview with WRAL News a few weeks ago, Lowe Jr. expressed his confidence that the bill has enough support, and votes, in the House to pass.
Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) said in the same interview that if the bill is brought up in session, it should have a clear path to legalization.
“We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve not heard any new opposition,” Saine told WRAL News. “I think we have a pretty smooth glide path once we do kind of start rolling into session.”
However, as time dwindles in the session and the bill has not even been heard in committee yet, it now faces a much more difficult path to passage before the June 30 deadline.