RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina state lawmakers expect to vote by the end of the month on whether to legalize mobile sports betting, having negotiated a new plan that would generate more money for the state than originally proposed. 

Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) said after the Senate passed a bill last year to authorize mobile betting for professional, collegiate, amateur and electronic sports. One of the biggest criticisms he heard was the state was leaving too much money on the table. 

Under the Senate bill, non-partisan staff at the General Assembly estimated it would generate $8 million to $24 million annually. 

“So, I think we’ve addressed that. We’re in certainly in the realm of other states and what other states are doing. I think this is a lot more substantial,” he said. 

While the Senate bill set an eight percent tax rate on adjusted gross revenues, the new proposal would increase that to 14 percent. Additionally, licensing fees would double to $1 million. 

Saine said the revisions would be included in a separate bill. That bill, which has not been made public yet, will also include additional details for how the North Carolina Lottery Commission would regulate the matter.

“The reality is it’s going to take a while for the Lottery Commission to get geared up and get regulations into place and ready to go. I’d love to have it done by the Super Bowl,” Rep. Saine said, noting it could take until next spring. 

The move to regulate sports betting has drawn bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. 

Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) remains concerned. 

“Our experiment with the lottery, which I know is separately structured and set up very differently, has not been a good one. And, we’re preying on those least fortunate,” she said. “I guess I should have realized it was going to be inevitable, but I am troubled by it.” 

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 paved the way for states to authorize mobile sports betting. Virginia and Tennessee are among the states that have done that. 

In North Carolina, sports betting is only legal in person at the tribal casinos. 

“I don’t like how that reflects on the state,” said Harrison. “I’m just very troubled by looking at this and selling it as a source of revenue to the state. It’s very undependable.” 

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has said he supports legalization, saying the move could create new jobs.  

The state is losing revenue by choosing not to legalize it, as some people are betting anyway, said Ches McDowell, a lobbyist who represents a variety of organizations including: the Charlotte Hornets, the NBA, the PGA and the MLB. 

“We’re feeling very optimistic that sports betting is going to move. We feel confident in the folks that we’ve talked to, he said. “We have the votes to do this. It’s a very positive thing for the state and we feel very good about it.” 

It’s still not clear when the House will vote on the issue, and the legislative session may be nearing its end. 

Republican leaders have said they plan to adjourn by the July 4 holiday. They’re aiming to finalize a budget proposal this week to take to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to weigh in on before making it public. 

Rep. Saine said the sports betting legislation is not being directly tied to the budget negotiations. 

“We’re not trying to put a gun to anyone’s head to say you’ve got to vote for this to get everything else you want in the budget. That’s just not what we’re doing,” Saine said.