North Carolina is one signature away from becoming the latest state to legalize sports betting.
SB 154 passed the Senate last week by a 43-7 vote and the House passed it Monday by a 90-27 landslide. The bill goes to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who could sign it into law.
The bill has bipartisan support and was sponsored by five Republicans and two Democratic senators. It would allow betting on sports and horse races only at the two tribal casinos in the state, both of which are run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
According to the Raleigh News and Observer, it is estimated that legalized sports betting could generate between $1 million and $1.5 million in tax revenue every year.
Many of the lawmakers claim that they are not legalizing sports betting. They argue that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting when they overturned PASPA last year. The lawmakers say that they are just expanding gaming at the tribal casinos.
“We’re not asking you this morning to legalize sports betting and gambling in North Carolina,” said Rep. Kevin Corbin to the News and Observer. “We’re simply asking you add this to the list of games that are allowed at the casinos.”
The bill will not allow online or mobile wagering. Lawmakers made it clear that they do not plan on expanding gaming any further than this.
If Cooper fails to sign or veto the bill, it will become law. If it becomes law, North Carolina joins Maine and New Hampshire as the latest states to pass sports betting bills, and the sixth state to legalize it in 2019.