As North Carolina lawmakers burn daylight to try to pass a budget, the issue of casino expansion remained at the center of debate until the 11th hour.
The idea to add late legislation to expand commercial casinos and other forms of gambling in the state came about in July but never really caught much traction on its own.
Now that lawmakers are pushing to pass a budget, the issue came back up and there was momentum to include it in the budget bill. However, the push for commercial casinos in the state ran out of steam Thursday and fell by the wayside to ensure there was enough Republican support of the bill.
Michael Hyland of local CBS outlet WNCN obtained an email from North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore to fellow Republicans about the issue:
Obtained this email @NCHouseSpeaker sent last night to House R’s. Says there are not enough of them willing to vote for the budget if it includes gaming. Calls for caucus meeting next week on the budget without gaming in it #ncpol #ncga @WNCN @Queen_City_News pic.twitter.com/fsN6kbTSUz— Michael Hyland (@MichaelWNCN) September 7, 2023
In the email, Moore stated unequivocally that there were not 61 Republicans in favor of including casino legislation so the budget would pass without its inclusion. Moore’s office later confirmed to the Raleigh News & Observer that the measure was dead.
North Carolina lawmakers did legalize sports betting earlier this year. Moreover, these discussions pave the way to potentially revisit the issue early in 2024. The state lottery also recently expanded its offerings to include online einstant games, which are very similar to online slot games.