RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A group of North Carolina senators filed a bill that would make sports betting legal in the state, which could help pay for education expenses and school construction.

Senate Bill 688 would authorize and regulate sports wagering in North Carolina as sports bettors have limited access to placing wagers via sportsbooks. The state has two tribal casinos to place sports bets on or partake in casino games.

About 30 percent of lottery revenue goes to education, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The net proceeds of the North Carolina Education Lottery go to education expenses, including reduced class size in early grades, academic prekindergarten programs, school construction, and scholarships for needy college and university students.

DPI says that even if the NC Education lottery gave 100 percent of its revenue to schools, that would only cover about 19 percent of the state’s total budget for K-12 public schools. More state revenue from sports betting could help cover a larger percentage of the budget.

If the bill is passed, bettors will be able to gamble on amateur, college, electronic, and professional sports. Other events may also be allowed, as long as it is approved by the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission.

Daily fantasy sports betting is allowed in the state via sites like FanDuel, Draftkings, which are among the most popular platforms.

Neighboring states Virginia and Tennessee offer full online sports betting. Tennessee does not offer physical sportsbooks, but Virginia has both in-person and online sports wagering. 

North Carolina General Statutes Subchapter XI, Article 37 § 14-292 details the state’s penalties against unauthorized gambling, which in most cases amounts to a Class 2 misdemeanor. 

According to current North Carolina law, you must 21 years of age and older, though some online betting sites allow some as young as 18 to register for an account.

Lawmakers say the bill would make it illegal for any person to offer or accept sports wages in the state without a valid interactive sports wagering operator license. This does not include registered players.

According to the bill, sports wagering operator applicants must submit a form from the Commission and pay a licensing fee of $500,000. If the application is denied, the licensing fee will be refunded, minus any expenses incurred by the Commission upon reviewal of the application, the bill reads.

Applicants must not be anyone who has been convicted, or a “key person” of the applicant has been convicted, of a felony or any gambling offense in any state or federal court of the United States within 10 years of application or renewal.

The bill describes a “key person” as an “officer or director of an interactive sports wagering operator who is directly involved in the operation, management, or control of sports wagering authorized under this Article, or who exercises substantial influence or control over the interactive sports wagering operator’s sports wagering activities.”

According to the bill, bettors would also be able to wage bets using cryptocurrency and other digital/virtual currencies, among other traditional forms of payment such as cash or debit/credit card.