Senate leader: ‘Prospects are pretty good’ for sports betting

CHARLOTTE — As the General Assembly returns Wednesday, Senate leader Phil Berger says the “prospects are pretty good” for sports betting passing this session.

According to Forbes, sports betting is legal in 36 states and Washington D.C.

Odds are North Carolina could soon follow.

Last year, lawmakers narrowly failed to pass a bill legalizing wagers on professional sports. Berger told the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance that sports wagering legislation looks promising.

“It is something that I believe has the support of a majority of both chambers,” he said. “It is something that I think the public overall supports. It is something that if you have a telephone, you already have access to it. You are not supposed to, but it is there.”

The effort has the backing of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, in part, because of Charlotte’s professional sports scene.

“Things got close last year,” Kevin McLaughlin, the 2023 Advocacy Committee chair for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, said. “(Sports betting) is something that is important to the Alliance and part of our agenda seeing it come to fruition this year.”

The devil will be in the details when a bill is filed. It’s unclear where tax revenue from mobile sports betting will be allocated. Last year’s bill sent most tax revenue to the general fund where it could be used for things, such as education or health care. It also set aside money to help problem gamblers and to attract major sporting events to the state.

Sports betting also has opponents. The Christian Action League came out against it saying gambling legalization will lead to broken promises, dreams and lives. Before the bill failed last year, lawmakers successfully stripped provisions that would have allowed betting on amateur (college) and Olympic games.

Berger expects the bill will begin in the house.

Last year’s bill would have allowed sports books in Bank of America Stadium, the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Representatives for the Panthers and Hornets did not respond to a request for comment.

VIDEO: Momentum grows for sports betting in North Carolina

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