NORTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – House Bill 347, also known as a bill that would allow online sports wagering in North Carolina, passed two significant hurdles Tuesday.

The State Senate Finance Committee and State Senate Rules and Operations Committee approved the legislation, sending it for a vote on the State Senate floor.

The bill would allow up to 12 sportsbooks based in the state — some with an online presence and others with a formal brick-and-mortar operation. An amendment was also passed that would disallow any betting on historical horse racing.

Sports betting has been a topic of discussion for years among lawmakers and those who want the operations to expand into N.C. because of the high interest in betting on college sports.

“We’ve seen this show many times in over a dozen states,” said Max Bichsel with Group, an online gambling resource with operations in Charlotte. ‘We’ve seen things go through the House successfully, it goes to the Senate and to the Governor’s desk, and it falls at that point.”

The Senate version, if approved, would also have to be approved by the State House.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper has said previously that he would sign sports betting legislation that comes to his desk.

“It does stand a good chance,” said Robert Linnehan, who covers sports betting for XLMedia. “If you start seeing delays, if you don’t see any planned votes on the Senate floor, and this gets farther and farther along into the Summer… something’s gone wrong. Somebody knows they don’t have the votes.”

As of our deadline, there has yet to be a formal timetable for a vote on the Senate floor, but many anticipate a vote sometime this week. Linnehan said the earlier the vote, the better chance for a passage.

Bichsel said there are just a few remaining steps before legalization, noting, “We’re hopeful this week.”