Supporters of sports gambling failed to advance legislation in the state House Wednesday that would have authorized online sports wagering for North Carolina. The vote against Senate Bill 688 came after lawmakers narrowly approved a companion bill (SB 38) of sports wagering amendments.
But without both piece of legislation getting a joint nod from the House, it’s unclear what avenue bill sponsors will take in the waning days of the summer session.
Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) said other states that have gone down this road have not had the payday they anticipated.
“The house is always going to win. North Carolinians are not going to win with this bill, and the argument that there’s offshore betting now and we should just do it and get the revenue, we know that offshore betting is going to continue because those companies are going to avoid paying the taxes and fees they are going to have to pay to do legalized betting.
“So, we’re not achieving anything except robbing North Carolinians of lots of money and funding the gambling industry. And we’re gonna have a lot of heartache and a lot of expense to our state and our taxpayers, and I can’t believe anybody can vote ‘yes’ for this bill.”
Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) was among more than 30 Republican members to join Harrison in opposing the fast-moving legislation, which cleared two committees earlier on Wednesday.
“Conservative estimates suggest North Carolina can expect to see tens of thousands more of our state’s citizens and their families being victimized by gambling addiction,” Hurley said. “What some people don’t even think about [it] adds to our social service budget.”
Rep. John Autry (D-Mecklenburg) dealt the bill another blow by successfully running an amendment that removed all college sports betting from the measure.
Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), the chief proponent of the bill in the House, is now looking for another approach to legalize sports betting before the end of the session.
SB 38, the companion bill that did win approval on Wednesday, faces one more vote in the House before heading back to the Senate.