A bill proposing to legalize predatory sports gambling in North Carolina is on a fast track in the North Carolina House. HB 347—Sports Wagering passed the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday afternoon and then the House Finance Committee on Wednesday morning and the House Judiciary 1 Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
Although no public comment was allowed in the first two committees, NC Family President John Rustin testified in the Judiciary 1 Committee. “If passed, HB 347 would impose a massive expansion of legalized gambling on North Carolina, as it would legalize state-sanctioned sports gambling on every computer, tablet, and mobile phone in the state.” Rustin told the committee. “It would also flood our state—and especially our children and young adults—with ceaseless advertisements and promotions for gambling on amateur, electronic, collegiate, and professional sporting events, as well as parimutuel wagering on horse racing and dog racing.”
Addressing concerns about gambling addiction, Rustin shared, “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. 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 said, “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! For these reasons, we urge you to oppose House Bill 347.”
House Bill 347 next proceeds to the House Rules Committee before it hits the House floor for consideration by the entire House.
TAKE ACTION: If you have not yet contacted your State House Member to urge them to OPPOSE this harmful bill, please do so via NC Family’s Action Center. Thank you!