Gambling experts feeling “troubled” about legalized sports betting final nod by NC House

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:41 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) -The old sports saying eat your betting money, but don’t bet your eating money may soon reign true for North Carolinians.

“You can sit in your pajamas and literally lose every last dollar in your savings account, retirement, kids college tuition,” said Les Bernal, Stop Predatory Gambling National Director.

Wednesday afternoon, the House gave its final nod on the legalization of mobile and select in-person sports gambling after a 68-45 vote in favor of its approval.

All bets are now on that Governor Roy Cooper will sign his name on the bill’s dotted line, leaving gambling experts like Bernal disturbed.

“Let’s not blame the people on this,” Bernal said. “This is being driven by powerful gambling corporations and partnership.”

House Bill 347 allows betting from mobile devices on professional, college, electronic, and Olympic sports. Horse racing gamblers are included too.

National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Keith Whyte feels Generation Z suffers most from the bill.

“They’re going to have to wrestle with the fact many of the kids who are approaching that 21 age to bet are already betting,” Whyte said.

The Tar Heel State is projected to rack up $100 million in tax revenue from sports gambling five years from now, however, Bernal believes lawmakers will be kicking themselves with regret by then.

“This was one of the biggest mistakes the state of North Carolina has ever made from a policy standpoint,” Bernal said.

This contentious sports betting bill allows people to bet in person at eight facilities in our state and provides a dozen mobile operators the chance to secure multi-year licenses worth $1 million.

Despite all the long-term revenue, both Whyte and Bernal still feel the legalization will do more harm than good.

Mobile betting could begin as soon as January of next year.