At the end of May it was looking as if confidence was high that a sports betting bill would pass in North Carolina – state officials were very much on the side that the bill would sail through despite the shortened assembly for the year and come the end of June that residents would welcome sports betting – but as is often the case with legislation changes, the expected wasn’t to pass.
Two gambling bills were to pass through the lawmakers for approval – SB38 followed the expected path as it had managed to pass and was accepted, but as it was legislation designed to amend the larger bill, it was unable to progress alone despite being a success. This bill would see amendments to applicants looking to get a sports betting license – by introducing a fee of $1m – service provider licensees would be set at a $50,000 fee and wagering supplier licensees at a $30,000 fee.
The second of the bills submitted, SB688, was the main target for getting legalized online sports betting much like many other states have done over the past few years, but the bill was voted against by a single vote at 51-50 despite being passed by the senate previously. The previous conditions were still unamended here – a $15,000 supplier license fee was suggested and those looking for an interactive sports wagering license must pay $500,000. These licenses would be valid for five years and then an additional $100,000 in renewal fees would be required.
There is still an opportunity for lawmakers to pass the bill, with the legislative session ending on June 30th amendments may be made and resubmitted to be pushed through, but if the bill were to fail again or if no adjustments are made before the June 30th deadline, gambling proponents must restart the process over again later in the year.
It isn’t the first time North Carolina has faced this frustration either – last year a bill made slow progress through the states house with similar positive signs pointing to the fact sports betting may emerge without issue but would stall in the later months of the year.
There’s no news yet whether lawmakers will try again to get this bill to pass before the end of the session, but hopes are high, and with only one vote to swing, it’s likely that substantial changes aren’t needed to achieve the goal of getting sports betting legalized, but instead further minor adjustments.