North Carolina’s Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate has narrowly approved a bill that would allow sports betting operations in the state, according to a report from WRAL.
Receiving a 26-21 vote, Senate Bill 688 aims to legalize sports betting online, via mobile phone and in person at approved facilities in the immediate area of major sporting events in the state. It will be regulated by the North Carolina Lottery Commission.
The state will look to take an 8% cut of an operator’s proceeds, as well as allowing no more than 12 state licenses for online sports betting outlets, not counting additional tribal licenses. Sports betting in North Carolina is currently only permitted at tribal casinos.
Online operators will have to pay an initial $500,000 license fee before $100,000 for annual renewal. Vendors that supply licensed gambling operations are also required to pay license fees in the state.
Bill sponsor Senator Jim Perry has stated the money from the fees would go to the state’s general fund “to support education”. He also acknowledged the difficulty of persuading many lawmakers to support the idea.
Perry told the Senate: “Prohibition doesn’t work. We know that activity takes place today, whether we like it or not.”
Co-sponsor Senator Paul Lowe, added: “I see this as a revenue bill. Somebody said, ‘Well, it’s gambling.’ Well, we already have gambling. We’ve got the lottery. It’s here.”
The final Senate floor vote on the bill was scheduled to take place today (August 19), before it then goes to the House.