There’s still hope for casino expansion in the state, despite recent resistance
The North Carolina House of Representatives is set to vote this week on a proposed bill to bring four more casinos to the state. Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Jason Saine, confirmed yesterday that House members will vote on Wednesday and Thursday. They’ll also vote to approve the new $30-billion state budget that will expand Medicaid among state residents.
Senator Phil Berger’s office published a copy of the proposed legislation to authorize the new casinos. 2023-GEN-C18B details the process of choosing potential casino operators and venue locations. Legislators are still discussing legalizing video lottery terminals in restaurants and bars, which isn’t included in the 2023-GEN-C18B draft.
Three of the proposed casinos would be outside tribal territories, with one that could be located at the tribal reservation in Lumbee. House Speaker Timothy Moore says the non-tribal casinos will likely be in Rockingham, Anson and Nash Counties. However, the bill doesn’t have details on exactly where the new casinos would be located.
The state Secretary of Administration would be responsible for choosing the location of the three non-tribal casinos. Approved counties can only operate one casino, with all venues located within 75 miles of each other. Companies seeking to construct and operate a casino must provide at least 1,750 jobs and invest a minimum of $500 million into local tourism districts. They must also have at least ten years of experience in commercial gaming.
Eligible companies must also pay a $500,000 application fee and a $7.5 million submission fee. Applications will be accepted no sooner than December 1. Senator Berger had sought to include the casino proposal in the upcoming budget. However, Speaker Moore asserted that most House Republicans are reluctant to vote on the budget with gambling included.