Sports betting is one leg closer to becoming legal in North Carolina after new legislation cleared the Senate on Thursday.
The Senate voted 26-19 to approve Senate Bill 688, which would legalize sports gambling on electronic devices and at selected locations across the state.
Sponsors of the measure said it could mean $25 million to $50 million in economic benefits for North Carolina. Fiscal analysts estimated it could generate $2.7 million to $8 million in the current fiscal year and $8 million to $24 million in each following year.
Providers and operators will be required to pay thousands of dollars in license and application fees to North Carolina under the measure, and 8% of the adjusted gross revenue will be directed to the state.
The measure directs 50% of the tax collected to a new Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, which is intended to attract major events to the state. Lawmakers said additional revenue would be used for education and to support the administrative agency.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission would oversee the sports betting industry. A dozen providers would be authorized to offer online or in-person betting on professional, college, electronic and amateur sports under the current version of the measure. Changes still could be made to the bill as it heads to the House for review.
Operators would have to pay $500,000 to apply for a sports wagering license and $100,000 to renew it. Businesses that provide services to operators would pay $25,000 to apply for a service provider license and $10,000 to renew. Suppliers in the industry would have to pay $15,000 to be licensed and $5,000 to renew.
The bill cleared the Senate with no debate Thursday, but during an initial vote on Wednesday, lawmakers added a provision to the bill that would allocate $1 million each year to combat gambling addiction.
Research from the Journal of Gambling Studies links the legalization of gambling to an increase in gaming. Critics of legalizing gambling said it could increase gambling addiction and crime and incur other social costs and burdens for the state.
This article was originally posted on North Carolina Senate votes to legalize sports betting