The odds that legislation allowing casinos to open in North Carolina passes next week appear to be very long. WRAL in Raleigh reported Thursday evening that House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Kings Mountain, emailed the Republican caucus late Wednesday, telling them there were not enough
votes to pass a budget bill that included expanded gaming.
“To be clear, we will not pass a budget that does not have 61 Republican votes,” the email read. “As you can see, there are not 61 Republicans willing to vote for the budget if it includes gaming.” The email goes on to say the GOP caucus will meet next week to discuss a spending plan that does not include gambling measures.
A message to Moore’s spokesperson was not immediately returned on Friday. The news comes three months after lawmakers passed a bill legalizing North Carolina sports betting statewide.
Proposal Calls For Four Casinos
Reports have circulated over the past couple of months that North Carolina legislative leaders were seriously considering adding expanded gaming to this year’s budget. Most of the talk has centered on allowing commercial casinos to be built in three counties considered to be economically disadvantaged. A fourth casino would become available to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
If approved, it would more than double the number of casinos in the state. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates two casinos in western North Carolina, and the Catawba Nation operates one west of Charlotte. Legislative leaders have floated the idea of commercial casinos to keep people from crossing into Virginia and playing at recently opened casinos just over the state line. The commercial casinos would also create thousands of jobs and bring at least $1.5 billion in new investment to the state.
North Carolina would also reap millions of dollars in tax revenue from the casinos. Lawmakers have also weighed legalizing video gaming terminals across the state, which would allow such machines in establishments with alcoholic beverage licenses.
Expanded Gaming Already Taking Place In North Carolina
The consideration of casinos and VGTs comes just months after lawmakers approved expanding sports betting, as NC sports betting apps will launch next year. Currently available at only the tribal casinos, sports betting will soon become available statewide thanks to the passage of House Bill 347. Up to a dozen sports betting operators can receive licenses from the North Carolina Lottery Commission to operate online. In addition, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks can also open at or near arenas, stadiums, racetracks and golf courses that host major professional sports teams and events.
HB 347 calls for sports betting to be launched statewide by June 14, 2024, but it cannot start before Jan. 8, 2024. The Lottery Commission has already taken several steps to prepare for the rollout of statewide sports betting, including hiring a deputy executive director and signing a contract with GLI to help with the rulemaking and licensing processes.
BetCarolina.com is your home for all news around the consideration of state casinos, plus the top North Carolina sportsbook promos.