On Wednesday, a bill that would legalize sports betting on Indian land passed its first vote in North Carolina.
The Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance passed an amended version of SB 154 which was initially introduced in February by state Senator Jim Davis.
Now that the bill has passed the initial vote, it will be sent to the Senate Rules and Operations Committee. The committee will review the bill on Tuesday 9 April.
If successful, the bill would grant the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians the legal right to offer sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast horse racing events.
According to the proposed legislation, patrons at tribal casinos will be able to wager on the “outcome of professional and collegiate sports contests.”
Davis’s bill to legalize sports betting has the tribe’s support.
On two separate occasions, Davis has sponsored successful gambling expansion legislation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. On both occasions, the bills received very little opposition from the legislature.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operate two casinos in North Carolina. One of the tribe’s casinos, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino, is located in Murphy. The other casino, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, is situated near the Tennessee border.
Davis predicts that the legalization of sports betting could generate about $14m in annual revenue for the tribe and $1m for the state.