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NC legislators pass sports betting expansion study bill


North Carolina’s legislature has passed a bill to conduct a study into the expansion of sports betting and the establishment of a new regulatory body in the state.

The bill must still be ratified by Governor Roy Cooper become it passes into law.

Senate Bill 574 was originally intended to create a new regulatory body, the North Carolina Gaming Commission, which itself would conduct a study into expanding sports betting in North Carolina.

However, when the bill passed to a conference committee after the Senate made significant changes, this removed the language that would have seen the state Lottery Commission converted into the Gaming Commission, giving it a broader regulatory scope.

The Lottery Commission will now contract an independent third party to research the effects of creating a gaming commission and expanding sports betting beyond tribal lands. It will present its findings Joint Legislative Oversight Committee by April 15, 2020.

In July, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper signed a bill allowing sports and horse racing wagering at two tribal casinos into law.

However each casino — Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel — is located far from most of North Carolina’s populace.

The study will therefore examine the potential risks and rewards of expanding sports betting to commercial casinos.

The bill was sponsored by state representative Harry Warren, but Warren said that the Senate should not concur with the bill in a committee meeting earlier this month.

He made the call after an amendment to move responsibilities related to bingo and boxing from the Alcohol Law Enforcement to the Lottery Commission without providing additional funding was passed.

However, the bill passed the Senate by a 44-1 margin and the House by 97 votes to 12.