NC mobile sports betting bill expected to pass in 2023

Online sporting betting could become legal in North Carolina this year, with both the Democratic governor and a key Republican lawmaker optimistic on Friday ahead of a big weekend in North Carolina sports.

A new bill is expected to be filed this coming week in the General Assembly.

“You know, I think it’s going to pass, from what I hear,” Gov. Roy Cooper told reporters on Friday after cranking the siren kicking off the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team’s downtown Fan Fest. The Canes play an outdoor NHL game against the Washington Capitals at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday. The N.C. State vs. UNC men’s basketball game is on Sunday in Raleigh.

That doesn’t mean Cooper will be placing bets.

“I would be a poor sports wagerer, because I would wager with my heart and not my mind,” he said when asked how much he would bet on the Hurricanes game if it was legal.

People can bet on games at casinos in Western North Carolina, but it would take a change in the law for them to be allowed to wager elsewhere. That would include at lounges located at professional sports venues, and on their cell phones and other devices, The News & Observer reported.

Cooper said he thinks lawmakers are “trying to make sure that we get good legislation that is fair to the taxpayers, but also recognize this is something that’s going on anyway.”

“So we might as well get benefit for our schools and our state out of it. So we’ll see how it goes,” Cooper said.

A lead Republican sponsor of previous legislation confirmed Cooper’s outlook to The News & Observer on Friday.

“I believe Gov. Cooper is right in his optimism about sports betting,” said Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican.

Sports betting bill next week

“Last session’s process helped identify matters that needed to be worked on with the legislation, as well as giving members (time) to talk to their constituents about the possibility of legalized sports betting,” Saine said.

The measure failed by one vote in the House last summer.

“This past week, the bipartisan group of legislators who are formulating the bill saw language of the coming bill and worked to tweak a few items,” he said. “We fully expect to see the bill filed this week and begin filing and moving the legislation through the committee process.”

Sports betting legislation sponsor Rep. Jason Saine spoke in favor of a bill that later failed by one vote on June 22, 2022 in Raleigh, N.C. Saine said a new bill is coming soon. Robert Willett

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Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers North Carolina state government and politics at The News & Observer. She previously covered Durham, and has received the McClatchy President’s Award, N.C. Open Government Coalition Sunshine Award and several North Carolina Press Association awards, including for politics and investigative reporting.

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