Lawmakers will probably turn their attention to a North Carolina sports betting bill this year that couldn’t cross the finish line in 2021.

LaMelo Ball triple-double youngest NBA player history Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela tries to block Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball. In a bill now under consideration in the North Carolina Legislature, sports betting would be legal at professional sports venues in the state. (Image: Suzanne Greenberg)

Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Gulliford, one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 688, said recently he believes the legislation has enough bipartisan support to pass the state’s Legislature.

“It makes sense to create a framework and allow people to do it legally, ” Hardister told Spectrum News. “The state can collect tax revenue on it.”

Online sports betting isn’t legal in North Carolina, which contains two brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in casinos in Cherokee and Murphy operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

SB 688 would allow sports venues and other locations in the state to establish on-site wagering and to legalize online betting. Number crunchers estimate the 8% tax rate would generate $24 million in tax revenue annually.

While that bill passed the Senate in 2021, the clock ran out before the legislation could make it through the required House committees before reaching the House floor. The Legislature is currently meeting, but is focused on voting to shift the primary election back three weeks due to concerns that the North Carolina Supreme Court will strike down redistricting plans.

Jordan Roberts, a government affairs associate for the John Locke Foundation, told Online Gambling that the uncertainty of the 2022 schedule places a cloud on topics such as sports betting, but he notes that “having passed the Senate already and cleared a key House committee, SB 688 does not have many more steps to make it to the House floor for approval.”

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