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North Carolina Sports Betting Legislation Gets Senate Approval

Publish: 21.04.2019

North Carolina made an important move last week when the state’s Senate green-lighted a new piece of legislation. Under the provisions of the proposal, the two Native American casinos operating in Old North State will be allowed to add sports betting to its offering.

Senate Bill 154 was approved by a 43 to 7 vote, and will now head to the North Carolina House of Representatives, whose approval is also required before the proposal can be adopted into law.

The First Step

The man behind Senate Bill 154 is Republican State Senator, Jim Davis. He introduced his proposal back in February at the request of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. If adopted into law, the bill will enable the federally-recognized tribe to make sports betting a part of its Class III services, and offer its customers at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel the option to wager on sports.

According to available information, Davies’ proposal in its current form will allow the Native American casinos in North Carolina to offer betting on a wide range of professional and collegiate sports, but only at land-based venues. The proposal does not include mobile or online betting whatsoever.

The introduction of this bill was made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court, who overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May last year, effectively putting an end to a federal ban on sports betting that had been imposed for 25 years. PASPA limited sports betting to casinos in Nevada, while its invalidation allowed a number of states to offer wagering on sports to their residents.

Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Mexico have so far legalized sports betting, while as many as 30 states are thinking of making such a decision at this moment, including Washington, Indiana and Arizona.

Generating Additional Revenue

Senator Davies believes the legalization of sports betting will prove to be a beneficial move for the state. He said the success of casinos operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians had allowed the tribe to invest into a new hospital, and fund a wide range of social programs.

He added that allowing the tribe to add sports betting to its casino offering could bring up to $14 million in additional gaming revenue, with around $1 million of that sum going directly to the state.

At this moment, the two casinos generate about $11 million in revenue.

Speaking about the new bill, David told his fellow legislators that table games and slot machines and all those ancillary gambling opportunities were already legal in this state, and the new proposal would just expand it to cover sports wagering already deemed to be legal.

Davis pointed out that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians had been incredibly vigilant and added they had been good stewards of the money.

If the bill gets approved by the House and gets the signature of Governor Cooper, then we can expect the residents of North Carolina will be able to place their bets by the beginning of the 2019 NFL season.