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NC Senate Bill Would Legalize Sports Betting; Poll Says Public Approves

Peter Francia

A bill that recently advanced through the senate finance committee in the North Carolina General Assembly would legalize sports gambling in the state-- and tax it’s revenue. ECU’s Center for Survey Research released a poll showing that a majority of North Carolinians support legalizing sports betting. 



Senate Bill 688 would legalize online and in-person sports gambling in North Carolina. Right now, sports betting is only legal in-person, on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ tribal land in the towns of Cherokee and Murphy. The director of ECU’s center for survey research, Peter Francia, says public opinion is very divided on whether sports gambling should be legalized or not. The center’s poll showed that 54% of adults in NC approve of legalizing sports betting, and 46% do not. When taxes are introduced as a factor, though, there is far less division.

“When you ask North Carolina adults whether they would prefer taxing online sports gambling or, which is what the senate bill would do, or whether they would prefer an increase in property taxes, the choice and the selection of those who completed our poll was overwhelming. 80% said they would prefer the taxation to be on sports gambling rather than an increase in property taxes.”

Supporters of this bill, like republican senator Jim Perry, who is its primary sponsor, have said that online sports gambling is already happening in North Carolina, it just needs to be regulated. Supporters also argue that the state could benefit financially from taxing gambling revenue. According to the poll, almost three out of four individuals polled were at least somewhat concerned that legalizing sports betting could increase gambling addictions. The poll also found that those who voted in the 2020 election were less likely to support legalizing sports gambling compared to non-voters. 

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