North Carolina is looking closer at its sports gambling industry. Two complementary bills will take a crack at clearing the legislature and finally making it to the governor’s office. Both stand a good chance of making the finishing line, and they are expected to make progress together, as they are planned with specific synergies and last-minute extension of goodwill in mind. However, the House of Representatives will have to have a final say before sports bettors get their hopes high.
Senate Bills Close to Getting Betting Up and Running
Senate Bill 688 will seek to make its way out of the House and the House Judiciary Committee is set to hear Senate Bill 38. Senate Bill 688 was already hotly-debated during the last legislative session and it passed the Upper House barely after a split Senate mustered the votes to push it through. Last year did not provide a sufficient time window to pass the measure through, but it was not scrapped either, with the House agreeing to pick it up this year.
A new debate and voting are expected to come on Tuesday, as confirmed by Rep. Jason Saine, the bill’s sponsor in the House, who is hoping to see Senate Bill 38 passed after all. The bilateral support that is shaping up bodes well for the bills’ chances in the house as the Lower House is currently controlled by an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.
In its crude form, Senate Bill 688 would be a tough sell to lawmakers, but the addition of Senate Bill 38 is there to sweeten the pill and make it pass. The amendment bill proposes that operators pay $1 million in upfront licensing fees, to obtain a five-year license at first.
Renewals will be charged at $1 million. Then, the tax that Senate Bill 38 wants to see committed is at least 14%, higher than the proposed 8% in the original bill. Putting this in perspective, the new bill hopes that the state would reap at least $24 million from betting tax annually, or a three-fold increase from SB 688.
The Bills Have Days to Be Passed and Sent to Governor’s Office
The amendment also comes with horse racing being featured as a legitimate betting activity. That was added as a last-minute nod to fellow lawmakers who were basing their support on this addition.
However, SB 38 is not a clean sell, as it would have to circle back to Senate and pass another vote before it can be sent to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk. The important thing here is to clear the bills through the legislature before June 30, when the session wraps up next Thursday. This means that should the vote on Tuesday fail, North Carlina will have most likely missed another chance to catch up to neighbors and regulate its gambling market.