US Gambling Legislation Updates: Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Nevada

  • An Alabama lottery and casino bill requires House approval in the final two days of the session
  • Louisiana lawmakers are set to vote on a sports betting bill Wednesday setting out tax and fees
  • NBA representatives have pressured the North Carolina government to legalize sports wagering
  • Nevada's gaming regulator will mull the introduction of online casino in a workshop in May
Gavel and US flag
Four states across the US have seen some legislative updates over the past week in regards to gambling, including Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Nevada. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update: The Louisiana House passed HB 697 on Monday, May 10, voting 77-24 in favor. The bill advanced to the Senate on Tuesday, where it now awaits a second reading.

Legislative news in four states

The states of Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Nevada have all seen some recent legislative action in regards to gambling.

the state’s 2021 legislative session is quickly nearing its conclusion

Lottery and casino legislation has progressed in Alabama, but the state’s 2021 legislative session is quickly nearing its conclusion. The bill now requires House approval in the last two days of the meeting.

In sports betting news, Louisiana lawmakers continue to formulate the state’s betting framework with a vote on taxes and fees proceeding on Wednesday. Meanwhile, representatives of the NBA are putting pressure on lawmakers to legalize sports wagering in North Carolina.

Finally, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has announced plans for a public workshop in May to weigh up the pros and cons of allowing online casino in Las Vegas’ home state.

Alabama bill cutting it close

Introduced in March, Senator Jim McClendon’s lottery and casino legislation has made significant progress in Alabama, receiving Senate approval last month in a vote of 23-9. The bill progressed through the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee on Tuesday. Now, it requires approval in the House of Representatives in the legislature’s remaining two meeting days.

It literally takes the name of a business and imbeds it in our Constitution.”

The legislation, which would establish a state lottery and nine casinos in Alabama, did not get an easy ride through the committee. As reported by AP News, the bill’s opponents argued that it picked “winners and losers,” referring to the nine casino locations marked out in the legislation. “It literally takes the name of a business and imbeds it in our Constitution,” noted former state senator Phil Williams. “When have you ever seen that happen?”

McClendon’s bill would establish casinos at dog tracks and race courses. It also allows the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to establish casinos across its various locations.

If the legislation receives House approval, it will go to a public vote in November 2022. During Tuesday’s meeting, the bill’s proponents argued that Alabama residents should have their say, with the last vote on gambling taking place in 1999.

Louisiana lawmakers to vote on HB 697

In November 2020, 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted in favor of legalizing sports betting. Now, lawmakers have to figure out the best framework for that market, with House votes on proposals beginning this week.

According to the Advocate, the House of Representatives will vote on House Bill 697 on Wednesday. The legislation sets out the tax and fee requirements for sports betting operators in the state. It serves as a substitute for House Bill 628, approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 21.

Proposed by Rep. Todd Stefanski, the bill calls for as many as 20 retail sportsbooks, with each to partner with two online operators. It includes a 10% tax on retail sportsbooks and 18% for online operators. The legislation also details a $250,000 application fee, and an additional $500,000 for those that receive a five-year license.

Two other bills, SB 142 and SB 202, also require the approval of lawmakers before the state can introduce sports betting.

NBA stars back North Carolina betting

In North Carolina, legislation for the legalization of sports betting is currently progressing through the state legislature. House Representatives introduced a bipartisan online betting bill last month, which would allow for at least ten online sportsbooks.

On Tuesday, two former players and the team president of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team began pressing lawmakers to approve a gambling expansion. Mugsy Bogues, Dell Curry, and Fred Whitfield visited various legislators to put forward their viewpoint. Don Waddell, president and general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, also joined the NBA representatives.

Get rid of the next-door neighbour bookies and make it safer.”

As reported by WRAL, Waddell argued that legalizing sports betting would increase safety for bettors. “Gambling happens everywhere,” he said. “Legalize it. Get rid of the next-door neighbour bookies and make it safer. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

The Carolina Hurricanes president added that he would like to see betting at North Carolina’s PNC Arena all year round.

Nevada regulator mulls online casino

Nevada’s land-based casinos are well on their way to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with March revenue topping $1bn for the first time since the crisis began. However, the NGCB has now opened the door to new potential source of revenue – online casino gambling.

The state gambling regulator will host a public workshop on May 13 to discuss the introduction of online casino, with applications now open for active participants. If the idea receives a favorable reception, the NGCB intends to introduce online casino through regulation rather than legislation. This will involve the adaption of current regulation which prohibits all online gaming other than poker and sports betting.

A bill titled AB 114 legalized all Nevada online gambling in 2013, however, it left control over the specifics of that regulation to the NGCB. At the time, the authority chose to only permit online poker, with many believing online casino would diminish the profits of the retail market.