North Carolina sportsbetting legislation passes significant hurdle

Last week reportedly saw the North Carolina Senate overwhelmingly approve a piece of proposed legislation that would allow the southern state’s two Native American casinos to add sportsbettting to their list of offerings.

Initial step:

Senate Bill 154 made it through the 50-seat body by a 43-to-seven vote on Tuesday and it is now destined to be put to a similar ballot before the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Cherokee campaign:

The brainchild of Republican State Senator, Jim Davis, Senate Bill 154 was introduced in late-February at the request of the federally-recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and its overall ratification would allow the tribe to add sportsbetting to the Class III services it already offers inside its Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel facilities.

Mobile missing:

According to a report from Casino.org, Davis’ measure, as currently written, seeks to allow aboriginal casinos in North Carolina to open only land-based sportsbooks offering markets on a range of professional and collegiate sports but does not cover any 7BALL forms of mobile or online sportsbetting.

PASPA precursor:

The introduction of Senate Bill 154 followed May’s invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which had largely been responsible for limiting legalized sportsbetting to casinos in Nevada, as well as the subsequent launch of sports wagering services in Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. There are also purportedly some 30 other states including the likes of Washington, Indiana and Arizona that are currently considering whether to follow suit via similar legislative moves.

Revenue generator:

Seventy-two-year-old Davis told the North Carolina Senate that the success of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ casinos has allowed the tribe to build its own hospital and fund a broad spectrum of ongoing social programs. In addition, he detailed that allowing the tribe to offer legalized sportsbetting could see it benefit to the tune of up to $14 million in additional annual gaming revenues with approximately $1 million of these proceeds going to the state.

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Davis told fellow legislators…

“Table games and slot machines and all those ancillary gambling opportunities are already legal in this state. This just expands it to cover sports wagering already deemed to be legal. The Eastern Band [of Cherokee Indians] has been incredibly vigilant [and] been good stewards of the money.”