North Carolina has moved one step closer to allowing sports gambling. The governor signed a bill earlier this month allowing the state to study sports gambling and its effects. If North Carolina allows gambling after the study concludes, it’ll be the seventh state to legalize sports gambling this year.
The Race to Get Sports Gambling in the South
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the bill banning sports gambling in May 2018, states rushed to legalize sportsbooks. By the time football season began in August, a handful of states had sportsbooks up and running. The only Southern state that immediately legalized sports gambling was Mississippi. However, when the 2019 legislative session began in many states across the South, things changed. These state legislatures discussed legalizing sports gambling during the current legislative sessions. And, this yielded some surprising results. Both Arkansas and Tennessee legalized sports gambling this year despite not having any casinos. Arkansas will conduct its sportsbooks at racetracks, and Tennessee will offer sportsbooks through its lottery system.
North Carolina Gambling
With all the emphasis on the growth of gambling in the South, North Carolina didn’t want to be left out. However, there was not a lot of interest in the legislature or the state earlier this year. Until now, most people didn’t even consider North Carolina as a place for sportsbooks. The state has no commercial casinos. There are two Native American casinos in western North Carolina run by the Cherokee tribe. Tribal casinos can offer sports gambling under federal law. There is also no way to bet on horse racing in the state. North Carolina does have a lottery, however.
The Move Toward Sports Gambling
Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill authorizing the money to create a study on sports gambling for the state. The study will look into the amount of money North Carolina might get with licensing fees and tax revenue. The study will look at both the positive and negative impacts of sports gambling. The research study will lay out the groundwork for the regulation of sports gambling as well. Two neighboring states, Virginia and South Carolina, are also looking into gambling. However, no bills made it through the approval process yet.
The Research Study
The legislature expects to complete the study by April 15, 2020, so it can make some decisions. Researchers will look into sportsbook gambling across the nation. There are a couple of other states North Carolina can look at. Both New Mexico and Florida have Native American casino gaming and no commercial casinos. Also, both states have seen significant opposition with additional gambling legislation.
This move toward offering a gambling bill comes in the face of a divided state. While many people are excited at the possibility of sports gambling, others are not. Many North Carolinians have said they want to see the state have sports gambling. That way, they don’t have to gamble offshore or visit a local bookie. However, many people also want to see sports gambling as mobile and online—neither of which the state is considering. Since both casinos are in the far western corner of the state, it’s difficult for many people to visit them. The sportsbooks would be six hours from Raleigh and four hours from Charlotte.
Whatever the state decides, it cannot ignore the revenue gambling can generate. New Jersey has seen $200 million in additional revenue since it legalized sports gambling. In its first year of gambling, Pennsylvania’s sports revenue is approaching $60 million. That is a large chunk of revenue North Carolina would love to have. But the study will have to be convincing to sway many people.
Disclaimer: All images are copyright to their respective owners and are used by USA Online Casino for informational purposes only.