Heated Debate Delays Mobile Sports Betting in North Carolina

Over 30 US states have legalized gambling since 2018. North Carolina is not one of them and the latest bid to allow its residents to legally place online bets on sport has failed.

The US Supreme Court judge ruling made four years ago changed the gambling industry. Individual states were given the right to make their own decision re legalisation. They did so not for a love of gambling but a desire to receive millions of dollars in tax revenue.

Those in approval of North Carolina going down that route have had a frustrating four years. The wait for legalisation will continue after the events of Wednesday June 29.

Senate Bill 38 had got through the House the week before, but only by a single vote. It was then sent back to the rules committee reducing its chances of being passed in the current legislative session. Another sports betting bill had failed by just one vote.

Success did finally look possible in the North Carolina House of Representatives. However, the debate didn’t result in a vote in favour of mobile sports betting becoming legal in the state.
There were just too many concerns over the bill for it to be passed. These included the risks that could be faced if it was legal to place bets on college sports. Then there were concerns raised over what was described as an “onslaught” of advertising by gambling companies.

That has already been seen in states that have legalised mobile sports betting. Whether there would be as much gambling tax revenue achieved as promised was also a problem area.

The debate turned nasty as opponents began dragging up previous sports betting scandals. One of which went all the way back to 1919. More comments came regarding the societal costs that are linked to legalising sports betting.

At present, gamblers can bet on sport at two Cherokee casinos in the state, with another due to begin doing soon this autumn. That seems to be enough for the opponents of the bill, rather than everyone being able to go online and place wagers.

There’s no time now in the legislative session that will allow the sports betting bill to be passed. Senator Phil Berger said of the bill after a session of the Senate on Thursday: “I haven’t checked its pulse, but by all reports it doesn’t have one.” That followed up comments by Majority Leader John Bell who had said he doesn’t believe the bill “will resurface this session.”

It’s a difficult situation for those states who are yet to legalise sports betting. Whatever the actual amount that is received from taxes is higher than the current zero figure. Those wishing to place bets on sport will simply continue to do so illegally or cross the borders to states that have already legalised sports betting.

It’s also frustrating for the online gambling sites that are just waiting to bid for the licences that will become available.

There is still hope though that the bill will appear again in the next legislative session. Could that finally see mobile sports betting made legal in North Carolina?