Those hoping that online North Carolina sports gambling efforts might find new life in the waning days of the spring legislative session didn’t have anything to cheer about as a result of Monday’s gathering of the full House of Representatives.
In a brief afternoon meeting, House Speaker Tim Moore took just a few minutes to outline the schedule for what he characterized as his chamber’s final week of work. There was no mention of online sports gambling.
Moore said that an agreement on a state budget has been reached and that it should be ready for a vote in the next few days. Moore announced that the next vote for the full House will be 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Whether or not the budget vote happens that soon, Moore was emphatic in saying that the session, which was scheduled to end June 30, would wrap up by the end of week, Friday or Saturday.
That would appear to throw cold water on hopes that the session would be substantially extended and give proponents of online sports wagering more time to change the minds of lawmakers who balked last week at advancing both bills that were before the House on mobile sports betting.
Third Retail Sportsbook Coming
North Carolina does have retail sports betting at two Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians casinos in the western part of the state. And the Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain, owned by the Catawba Nation, plans to open its sportsbook before the NFL season starts, a spokesman told Raleigh television station WRAL last week.
The Carolina Panthers open their regular season on Sept. 11 at home against the Cleveland Browns. The first regular season NFL game is scheduled for Sept. 8.
House Voted Against SB 688
Last week, there were two critical votes — one went for online sports betting but another went against.
One of those bills, SB 38, passed by a 51-50 vote late Wednesday and was moved to a third reading. But that bill’s companion bill, SB 688, failed, 52-49, on its second reading Wednesday night.
The vote was crushing for online sports proponents. However, online sports gambling’s chief champion in the House, Rep. Jason Saine, offered some hope for those rooting that that the state would finally open up to online sports wagering by saying that online sports gambling “is not totally dead.”
After online sports gambling was thrown for a loss last week, some have hoped that online sports wagering might somehow still be approved as part of the budget process. And perhaps 11th-hour negotiations may result in such a thing, but if so, Moore gave no such indication in the fast-paced in-and-out House session on Monday.