North Carolina gambling expansion has officially been frozen out from the state budget as a deal was agreed on Tuesday to remove the controversial VLT and commercial casino propositions from the budget.
A majority of the Republican contingent of North Carolina lawmakers have vehemently opposed the inclusion of North Carolina casino expansion in the state budget from the get-go.
The North Carolina Speaker of the House sent an email to all Republican representatives, stating that a budget can not pass without the votes of 61 Republicans, of which there were not enough willing to do doso if gambling literature was included.
According to local news outlet WRAL, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, the main driving force behind the proposal for casino legislation said in a press conference: “The budget has thousands of great things for the people of North Carolina.”
He added: “It was just pretty clear the facts were almost beside the point as to what the proposals would do for rural areas and the emotion that was actually permeating every bit of discussion about that had sort of overtaken. I’ve learned that in an environment like that you’re unlikely to make any progress”.
Some language pertaining to gambling included in the budget is a promised rewrite of North Carolina’s sports betting legislation to give the sports teams more power. As of yet, despite being signed into law, NC sports betting is not yet operational.
In addition, there are proposed limits to North Carolina Lottery’s ability to offer casino-style games. This is in retaliation to the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission’s decision to allow eInstant games, which many liken to online slots. Certain eInstant games are more slot-like than others, so time will tell how much the language in the budget impacts the lottery’s planned expansion.
The NC ‘s lottery statute reads: “The Commission shall determine the types of lottery games that may be used in the Lottery. Games may include instant lotteries, online games, games played on computer terminals or other devices, and other games traditional to a lottery or that have been conducted by any other state government-operated lottery.”
Despite the above, there has still been considerable pushback, resulting in the budget amendments to address lawmakers concerns.Reports suggest that the recent stalemate threatened state expansion of Medicaid, a Democrat priority. The budget will now expand the measure to give health insurance to more than 500,000 low-income North Carolinians and generate ‘billions of federal dollars’.
The North Carolina fiscal year began July 1, 2023, so the budget is now overdue by months.