UPDATE: Governor Cooper signed HB 347—Sports Wagering/Horse Race Wagering into law on June 14th, 2023.
This afternoon, the State House voted to concur with the amendments made by the State Senate on HB 347—Sports Wagering/Horse Race Wagering with a vote of 69-44. This comes after the House initially approved the bill with a vote of 64-45, and the Senate approved it with a vote of 37-11. The bill will now proceed to Governor Cooper, and it is anticipated that he will sign it into law.
House Bill 347 will effectively turn every computer, tablet, mobile phone, and smart TV in North Carolina into a legal gambling device. In addition, North Carolinians—especially our children and young adults—will be inundated with countless ads and promotions for gambling on amateur, electronic, collegiate, and professional sporting events.
As NC Family President John Rustin told lawmakers as HB 347 was being considered in the State House, “Decades of research clearly demonstrates the more prevalent gambling is, and the more forms of gambling that are legalized and advertised, the more citizens will gamble. Of those who do, a significant percentage—typically between 3-5 percent—will develop a problem or pathological gambling issue.”
“Conservative estimates suggest that North Carolina can expect to see tens of thousands more of our state’s citizens and their families victimized by gambling addiction if this bill is enacted into law,” Rustin said. “Problem and pathological gambling manifests itself in increases in theft, embezzlement, job loss, personal bankruptcy, substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, and even suicide. This is the human cost of legalized gambling and gambling addiction!”
Regarding North Carolina’s sports heritage, Rustin shared, “House Bill 347 would also degrade our state’s rich heritage in collegiate, amateur, and professional sports, and would authorize our universities and colleges to enter into ‘commercial agreements’ with state-sanctioned gambling bookies to get a cut of the gambling profits. With the passage of this bill, gambling will become the centerpiece of sports competition in North Carolina, instead of the games themselves.”
Rustin concluded, “Anybody who knows gambling, understands house IS going to take its share and practically everybody else is going to lose. North Carolina should seek ways to make our citizens winners instead of losers!”
You can learn more about some of the dangers associated with gambling here.