North Carolina House lawmakers appear to be running out the clock on a bill to legalize mobile sports betting.
The Senate passed an NC mobile sports betting bill in 2021. However, the House version remains stuck in committee. The state legislative session ends on June 30, giving lawmakers 23 days to pass the bill.
Status of North Carolina mobile sports betting bill
When the House Judiciary Committee met on June 2, it was expected lawmakers would discuss HB 688. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Governor Roy Cooper has repeatedly voiced his support of sports betting, but even the governor cannot move things along.
In May, Ches McDowell, a lobbyist representing several professional sports organizations and Churchill Downs, expressed optimism that the job would get done.
“I believe we have a very, very good chance of passing the bill,” McDowell said.
McDowell also represents:
- Charlotte Hornets (NBA)
- Major League Baseball
- PGA Tour
What is the holdup for North Carolina?
There is no explanation for why the committee has not brought up the gambling bill. For now, sports betting in North Carolina is limited to a pair of Harrah’s casinos owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It should be noted that only retail sports betting is available at these two casinos.
- Harrah’s Cherokee
- Harrah’s Cherokee Indian Valley
A third casino, owned by the Catawba Nation, is currently under construction. This $600 million casino near Kings Mountain will be in partnership with Hard Rock.
HB 688 will create 10 to 12 mobile sports betting licenses for qualified interactive gaming platforms. Approval would come from the NC Lottery Commission, which would regulate potential operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM.
Cooper has 10 days to sign the bill if lawmakers can pass a bill before the June deadline. Should he decide not to sign, the bill automatically becomes law after the 10-day expiration date.
Until then, customers can travel to neighboring Tennessee and Virginia, where mobile sports betting is legal. If the NC bill doesn’t pass, it’s likely the state will continue losing potential betting revenue to these nearby states.