Things were going so well for mobile sports bets that something eventually had to go wrong. And that’s exactly what happened in North Carolina last week. Yes, sports betting is legal there, but placing bets using your phone or laptop won’t be happening anytime soon.
There was a small bit of hope that some last minute political maneuvering could bring a deal together, but it was not to be. Now, the legislative session has adjourned, and with them go any hopes of mobile sports bets in the state this year.
What was the hold up? As usual, there were concerns of problem gambling. And while that is a serious issue for some, and should be considered with any regulatory framework, the reality is that gambling addiction affects about 1% of the population. Still, overly cautious legislators love to punish the 99% of the population who do manage to gamble responsibly.
Democratic State Representative Pricey Harrison said “How can we even think this is a good idea for our state This bill subsidizes industry that relies on increasingly predatory practices to generate profits and fails to protect and support increasingly good quality jobs”. We get it, Pricey. You don’t like gambling. But do try to stick to the facts and less obviously inflammatory rhetoric.
To be fair, both support and opposition to this measure stretched across both parties. But the mobile sports bets measure did have the full support of all the professional sports teams in North Carolina. A far cry from just five years ago, when sports leagues were clearly opposed to any form of betting on their games.
Don Waddel, general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes from the National Hockey League, stated that, “If we don’t think there’s gambling going on in North Carolina, you live under a rock. Two things you can gain out of it (regulation): You gain tax revenue and you also get control of it… We’re disappointed, but we are also optimistic that we’ll see it in the near future.”