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North Carolina moves closer to legalizing sports gambling

Legalized sports gambling in North Carolina cleared one of its last legislative hurdles Tuesday as the House accepted changes made by the Senate that include adding horse racing to the betting mix and raising the state’s cut of wagering revenues.

The chamber must agree to the altered measure one more time Wednesday for the Republican-controlled General Assembly to finalize the legislation and send it to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has expressed support for authorizing and regulating sports wagering.

Opponents of the current bill remain worried about how a large expansion of gambling beyond the current state lottery would increase addictions, harming families and low-income residents.

The die appeared cast with Tuesday’s 67-42 vote, which came nearly a year after a coalition of social conservatives and liberals in the House s cuttled a previous sports wagering measure.

Asked earlier Tuesday whether he would sign the sports gambling measure into law once it reached his desk, Cooper told reporters “I am generally in support for the sports-betting legislation. But we’re continuing to look at it.”

North Carolina Fox News graphic

The final revision of a North Carolina sports gambling bill is just one vote away from the state’s governor’s desk. 

Adults with wagering accounts could bet online through computers or mobile phones. But proposed sportsbooks offered at or near pro sports venues, race tracks and golf courses could take cash bets from anyone over 21. Horse-race betting would be allowed through separate gambling operators.

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The legislation would tax sports wagering at a rate equal to 18% of gross betting revenue minus winnings. The earlier proposal in the House set a similar 14% tax with more deductions.

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