A bill to legalize sports betting in tribal casinos has begun to progress through the North Carolina House of Representatives, passing through the chamber’s Commerce Committee.
Senate Bill 154 now progresses to the Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House Committee, to which it had originally been assigned in April after passing its first reading in the House.
This followed the bill’s passage through the Senate, where it was approved after its second reading, backed by 43 Senators, with seven voting against.
However progress stalled at that point, with the bill remaining in limbo until June 25, when it was withdrawn from the Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House Committee and reassigned to Commerce. It could continue its progress today (July 10), at the committee’s next meeting, which would see it headed for a full house vote, then to Governor Roy Cooper.
SB154 has only been able to progress through the legislature after Cooper forced lawmakers to continue work following the end of the state’s legislative session on July 1 by vetoing a budget bill.
The bill would allow sports betting to be conducted at tribal casinos that are already permitted to Class III gaming activities. Betting on horse racing would also be permitted. The state would have to negotiate a new tribal compact with any operator, which would determine the share it receives from the roll-out of wagering.
Currently only the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians would be eligible to launch sports betting. The tribe owns the Caesars Entertainment-operated Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy.
The market could expand, with the Catawba Indian Nation having put forward plans to build a new tribal casino in Kings Mountain.