Sports betting is closer than ever to legalisation in North Carolina as legislation to license and tax it cleared another state Senate committee, according to a Centre Daily report.
Proposals have achieved cross-party support from both Democrats and Republicans, despite concerns raised that passing such legislation would condemn vulnerable users to gambling addictions.
The proposals follow a Supreme Court decision from 2019 in which sports betting had the potential to be legalized in all 50 states. Since then, 20 states have legalized sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Opponents claim the bill will create new addicts whilst furthering the harm of current victims of gambling problems.
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, told Centre Daily: “The most predatory industry in the country purposefully targets and exploits the financially desperate and cultivates addiction for profits.”
The bill to license sports betting was approved by the state’s financial committee last week but it is still subject to scrutiny by two more Senate panels before heading to the floor for a full vote.
Despite the concerns, Sen. Jim Perry, a Lenoir County Republican and supporter of the bill, said just a small number of Americans suffer from gambling problems and those who cannot access sports betting transfer their addictions to another source.
If the bill does pass all Senate scrutiny and is enshrined into North Carolina law, it is expected that the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission would issue 10 to 12 sportsbook operator licences.