North Carolina Governor Gives His Approval for Sports Betting Study Bill

  • Study will also look at online poker, casino games and slots
  • North Carolina only has a state lottery and two tribal casinos
  • Both the House and the Senate were happy to give their approval
  • Results of the study bill will be presented to the legislature in April 2020
North Carolina flag waving against a blue sky.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has given has given the green light for a sports betting study bill to be commissioned. [Image: Shutterstock]

Bill given the green light

Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, has given his approval for a sports betting study bill.

His announcement follows a lot of back-and-forth within the legislature in relation to the issue. This approval will act as a gateway for gambling expansion in the future, if results are positive. 

This new legislation gives power to the North Carolina Lottery Commission to authorize a third-party study looking into the potential effects of different forms of gambling expansion. 

Breakdown of this study

One of the key aspects of the study will be to assess the impact of legalizing sports betting both in a retail setting and online. Currently, there are thirteen states with legal sports betting. Five of these states also have legal mobile sports betting.

there will also be an assessment into the potential impact of legalizing casino games, slots and/or online poker

As part of this bill, it looks at potentially creating a new regulatory body for oversight. It would put in place a better structure for potential gambling expansion in the future. 

While the main focus of this bill is sports betting, there will also be an assessment into the potential impact of legalizing casino games, slots and/or online poker. 

North Carolina is one of the only states in the country without any land-based gambling entities, such as pari-mutuel horse tracks, card rooms or any gambling facilities. The only gambling operations in the state are the state lottery and a pair of tribal casinos.

Support for this bill

The Republican Party is in control of both the Senate and the House in North Carolina. The party is happy with this legislation provided that its goal is only to study potential gambling expansion. The party first ensured that this bill does not give a mandate for the actual expansion of gambling in the state. 

Governor Cooper is a Democrat and he had little other option than to sign this bill as a veto would have been overridden. This bill is a major step forward in a traditionally conservative state when it comes to gambling. 

Future plans

The two tribal casinos in the state, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, were given the green light to open sportsbooks. This is for retail sports betting only and these sportsbooks should open their doors to the public by the end of 2019.

new study on the effects of sports betting will not be put in front of the legislature until April 2020

Both facilities will offer sports betting on professional and college sports, including for teams from the state. Both of these tribal casinos are located in rural settings on the western side of North Carolina. 

The new study on the effects of sports betting will not be put in front of the legislature until April 2020. With the legislative session ending in July, there will not be a lot of time for a potential legalization bill to get approval.

It would also take between six months and a year to fully implement a sports betting framework, including a testing period.