The North Carolina Lottery Commission will launch a study on gaming oversight and sports betting in the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper gave the stamp of approval to Senate Bill 574 Thursday, which initiates an examination into newly authorized sports betting and whether or not to create a gaming commission to oversee the regulation of other games.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Davis, R–Cherokee, fell one vote short of being unanimously approved by the Senate on Aug. 28. However, in the House, 11 Republicans and one Democrat voted against the bill.
Davis could not be reached for comment. However, Rep. Pricey Harrison, D–Guilford, who voted against the bill, said she is not a big fan of gambling in North Carolina. Harrison said she was against the state’s lottery, which was approved in 2005.
About 30 percent of the lottery's revenue goes to education, or about $708 million in fiscal 2019.
“Over the years, all of the protections that were built have eroded. More money has gone into encouraging folks to pay the lottery, more advertising, more payouts, less money going to the schools,” Harrison said.
The representative fears the same cycle will occur with other gambling activities.
Cooper signed a bill in late July that allows North Carolinians to legally bet on sports on tribal grounds.
The nine-member Lottery Commission currently oversees the state’s lottery system. They plan to review the impacts of legalizing sports betting and regulations that need to be set into place.
House Bill 154 authorizes sports betting and horse racing on the premises of the two North Carolina casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The tribe must share up to 8 percent of its revenue from each gaming facility operated by the tribe, according to its 25-year agreement made in 2011.
The commission will look at the economic and other potential impacts of the new games as well as the “feasibility” of the legalizing other games.
Illegal gaming is a $100 billion industry in the U.S., according to the American Gaming Association.
North Carolina became the 17th state to legalize sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada in May 2018.
“Legalizing sports betting in North Carolina is a welcome step in the fight against the dangerous, illegal market,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA.
The Cherokee casinos in North Carolina plan to offer patrons the chance to place bets on college and professional sports games.
The commission has until April 15, 2020, to present its findings to the Joint Legislative Insight Committee.