The new owner of the Carolina Panthers is not only a football fan, but also a big fan of sports gambling.  David Tepper, the billionaire businessman and owner of the Carolina Panthers has openly endorsed sports gambling in North Carolina.  At Tepper’s introductory news conference when taking ownership of the team this past summer, he specifically mentioned sports gambling as a great revenue stream for the Tar Heel State.  In addition, he stated that the additional state income made through sports gambling could be utilized to increase public school teacher’s salaries.

Lawmakers in North Carolina also seem equally supportive of legalizing sports gambling in the state.  North Carolina State House Majority Whip John Hardister has come out strongly in support of legalizing sports gambling in the state. Hardister reportedly believes that creating a framework to properly regulate sports gambling in North Carolina will be the key to garnering the support of other lawmakers.  Both chambers of the House of Representatives in North Carolina have come forward in support of sports gambling.

However, there are also opponents to sports gambling in North Carolina who would strongly fight against legalization of sports betting in the Tar Heel state.  Namely, North Carolina has historically been more politically and culturally conservative than most northern states.  Consequently, several conservative groups have and will continue to lobby against sports gambling in North Carolina.

In addition, current Republican leaders in North Carolina have mixed feelings about introducing sports betting in the state.  Complicating matters, is the fact that Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has had a contentious relationship with Republican lawmakers in the state.  As a result, it may be difficult to unify all parties and interests in the state when it comes to any potential sports gambling legislation.

Just like sports gambling in other states, even if a bill is presented in 2019 – there are many complex issues – like taxation, regulation and implementation that will have to be debated and fine-tuned during extensive legislative sessions.  This can usually take upwards of several months to finalize.

While there is no official word of a sports gambling bill being introduced in the North Carolina state legislator next year; there is certainly room for optimism when it comes to sports betting in the Tar Heel state.   We wouldn’t be surprised to see a bill presented to the state house and senate during 2019.  Especially, in light of the public support for sports gambling by the Carolina Panthers new owner and other Democratic leaders in North Carolina.  If all goes well, North Carolina would look to join Mississippi as one of the few southern states to legalize sports betting.

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