Clock is Ticking on North Carolina Mobile Wagering Bill

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North Carolina fans are impatiently waiting to see if the state House clears the sports betting bill with a few weeks remaining in the session.

The North Carolina House has yet to discuss Senate Bill 688, which cleared the Senate last August.

The legislation is likely to go through three committees before reaching the House floor. If the state House passes SB 688, it will enable legal mobile sports betting in Tar Heel State.

North Carolina’s online sports betting bill would extend the scope of legal wagering beyond the two tribal casinos where it is currently legal. Under the bill, up to 12 mobile sportsbooks would be allowed to take statewide bets.

The short legislative session, which was scheduled to convene on May 18, concludes on June 30.

What is the Bill’s Existing Status?

Though key lawmakers say they have the House votes for approval, the North Carolina online sports betting bill needs the following process to pass this year.

SB 688 is currently awaiting a hearing in the Judiciary House Committee – the first of the three House committees where it will be discussed before landing on the House floor.

The committee has yet to decide on a hearing date.

If the NC mobile wagering bill is approved here, it would require a similar passage in probably the two more committees and final approval by the full House. Any amendments in the lower chamber must be concurred by the Senate.

If SB 688 clears all these stages by June 30 – the last day of this year’s legislative session – it will be sent to Gov. Roy Cooper for his consideration. The Democratic governor has already indicated his support for the expanded sports betting, citing the industry’s job creation potential.

A Key Lawmaker Thinks September a Realistic Deadline!

A key lawmaker has recently said North Carolinians place legal mobile bets early in the NFL season. Rep. Jason Saine, who helped the mobile wagering bill steer through the House, told local television that “it’s conceivable, if not by the first of football season, certainly by mid-season.”

Under SB 688, the North Carolina Lottery Commission would regulate sports betting.

While a lottery official did not respond to the media request seeking to know the launch date, they hinted it is not possible considering the examples of other states as a guide.

It typically takes up to six months to go from legalization to allowing the licensed operators to launch.

For instance, New York – the biggest industry in the nation – legalized sports betting in April 2021 and launched it in January 2022.

Arizona did this even earlier as it was legalized in April 2021 and went live in September that year.

What Do We Expect Now?

With nearly three weeks remaining in this year’s short session, House lawmakers must do miracles to ensure North Carolina sees legal mobile wagering this year.

If they are able to iron out all the issues and clear the bill by June 30, the North Carolina governor has 10 days to either sign or veto it.

If Cooper does not do anything, SB 688 will become law after the 10-day period expires.

Since the governor has already expressed his support for sports betting expansion, the executive signature is hardly an issue here.

Even if the lawmakers agree to a final bill by June 30, North Carolina bettors should not expect legal mobile betting options in time for this regular football season. The 2022 NFL season kicks off on Sept. 8.

NC mobile wagering bill, which cleared the upper chamber last year by a 26-19 vote, would tax the industry at 8% of adjusted gross revenue. However, the House could increase the tax if it decides to take it up during this session.

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