North Carolina’s Lottery Commission can study whether to allow legal sports betting statewide, according to a new law.
The legislation passed the General Assembly Aug. 30 and Gov. Roy Cooper signed it Thursday.
Sports gambling is currently allowed only at tribal casinos in the western N.C. towns of Cherokee and Murphy.
In light of a state law passed in July, sports betting is expected to begin at those two Harrah’s casinos before the end of this year.
The idea of statewide sports betting comes after a May 2018 Supreme Court ruling struck down a federal ban on sports betting.
Over the past 16 months, 10 states have joined Nevada with legal sports betting, according to legalsportsreport.com. Six others, including neighboring Tennessee, have passed legislation to legalize it and are setting up the infrastructure to begin taking bets.
Like North Carolina, Oregon and New Mexico limit sports gambling to tribal casinos.
Thursday’s new law authorizes the N.C. Lottery Commission to contract with an independent third party to study what effect statewide sports betting would have on the state. It mentions examining “the positive and negative impacts of authorizing sports betting in this state, whether any additional resources may be needed for assistance to those with gambling addictions” as well as the “potential revenues and expenditures.”
It raises the idea of creating a gaming commission or authority to oversee sports betting activities.
The law stipulates the Lottery Commission should report its findings back to the state’s Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the State Lottery on or before April 15.
After that, another new law would have to be implemented to make statewide sports betting legal.