‘This bill is your legacy’: A divided NC House votes big on sports gambling (w/video)
In a 66-45 vote, members of the North Carolina House approved legislation Tuesday to legalize sports wagering in North Carolina.
House Bill 347 opens the door to electronic betting on college sports and professional sports with 10 to 12 licensed operators accepting bets.
Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) the bill’s primary sponsor said the legislation has the backing of the Hornets, the Hurricanes, the Panthers, the Courage, NASCAR, and the PGA tour.
“It’s a new amenity that teams can offer that will increase their advertising revenue and increase fan engagement and viewership,” explained Saine.
But Rep. Jay Adams painted a much different picture.
The Catawba County Republican said while his own father was a successful gambler, he had been exposed early on to those who were not winners.
“One of his associates, he was a very poor gambler, which led to his addiction to alcohol. It cost him his job, cost him his wife and family,” Adams shared. “And his kids were my friends and they just vanished from my sister and my life.”
Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham) said legalizing this vice would forever change how the state views events like the Final Four.
“Next year, what are we going to be saying? ‘Oh, man, that point spread on those teams. I went up $200, came down $800. Can I borrow $600 from you?'”
Morey also voiced concerns about the impact millions of dollars in advertising would have on young children, who might view gambling as a fast, easy way to make money.
“You will eventually lose. Watch the statistics. Gamblers will eventually lose. Ask Phil Mickelson, ask Charles Barkley, ask dozens of professional athletes who had millions and have lost it.”
“Sports betting is no different than the stock market. People are permitted to exercise their own judgment, to pick winners and losers in any scenario,” Rep. Saine told members.
Eight amendments, all offered by Democrats, to add more safeguards or slow the legislation failed Tuesday.
One more vote in the NC House and the measure heads back to the Senate, which approved an earlier version of the gambling bill last year. Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to sign the legislation.
The earliest date for legalized sports betting to begin in North Carolina would be January 1, 2024.
Click below to watch a portion of the debate.