Sports

Lawmakers pass bill to legalize sports betting at NC tribal casinos

Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature is all that’s needed to make sports betting legal at western N.C.’s tribal casinos.

The N.C. House passed Senate Bill 154 Monday, joining the Senate in approving sports betting and horse wagering in the state.

Gov. Cooper has 10 days to either sign it into law, veto it, or let it become law without his signature.

The bill restricts sports wagering to tribal lands only, and would not allow mobile wagering because it requires bets be placed only at Eastern Band of Cherokee casinos in Cherokee and Murphy.

It is estimated that revenue from adding sports and horse betting at these locations could generate between $1 million and $1.5 million annually for the state.

The Senate approved the measure last April and it sailed through the House over the last seven days.

Sports betting has spread to nine states since last year when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the practice outside of Nevada. Since then, New Jersey, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania Mississippi, New Mexico and Arkansas have joined Nevada in legalizing sports betting.

N.C. lawmakers were quick to point out, though, that this bill doesn’t open the entire state to sports betting.

“We’re not asking you this morning to legalize sports betting and gambling in North Carolina, we’re simply asking you to add this to the list of the games that are allowed” at the casinos, Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Macon, said during a House committee meeting last week.

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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