North Carolina Casino Proposal Suggests Single Operator, Three Casinos

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A proposed casino bill in North Carolina is likely to face resistance because of its limitation. Should lawmakers approve the legislation, the state may authorize just a single company to undertake the development of three casinos throughout the state, allocating a substantial investment of $1.5 billion.

Casino Expansion Talks Continue

Lawmakers have kept the language of the legislation under wraps, yet deliberated extensively on the intricacies of the proposal. The legislation successfully cleared on Thursday afternoon, validating several aspects outlined by the legislative authorities while further elaborating on the blueprint to amplify legalized gambling within the jurisdiction.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger shared details on Thursday morning about ongoing negotiations for the casino plan, which are part of the ongoing efforts to reach a final budget agreement. Moore informed reporters that Anson, Nash, and Rockingham counties have been chosen as the designated locations for the casino.

The bill, which carries the date of July 11, refrains from explicitly mentioning the specific districts. Instead, it establishes criteria that determine which areas are eligible.

These criteria encompass locales situated to the east of Interstate 77, regions encompassed or intersected by Interstate 95, having a population below 100,000, and ranking within the 40 most economically distressed areas within the state. The Lumbee Tribe has the potential to establish a fourth casino in the southeastern part of the state, regardless of whether or not they obtain the necessary federal approval, according to Moore.

By implementing a new bill, this casino would be distinct from the other three districts, granting ownership rights to either the Lumbee Tribe itself or one of its subsidiary organizations. Additionally, it would have the flexibility to operate within any of the ten counties situated in the southeastern region.

Deadline Approaching Quickly

By September 1, the secretary for administration is required by the bill to commence the process of accepting proposals. The proposals must come from seasoned participants in the commercial gaming industry, boasting at least a decade of experience.

In addition, the contenders must demonstrate that they can allocate a minimum of $1.5 billion from private funds ($500 million or more for each location). They must also be committed to generating a minimum of 5,250 employment opportunities.

Companies looking to submit proposals will have 60 days to turn them in. Subsequently, the Secretary of Administration shall be granted an additional 60 days to handpick entities for presentation to the Secretary of Commerce.

In case the investment or employment objectives are not met, the legislation allows for ramifications. In addition, casinos will be obligated to remit a 22.5% excise tax on their gaming earnings.

Omitted from the legislation is any discussion on video gambling terminals (VGT) and video lottery terminals (VLT). These have been the source of a lot of debate among legislators, causing prior gaming expansion bills to stall.

Moore has expressed that the possibility of backing slot games is under contemplation amid ongoing casino negotiations. Fragile budget deliberations are taking place between House and Senate leaders, each proposing their respective budget plans encompassing notable variations in tax reductions and savings accounts. Concurrent discussions surrounding the casino and video games spheres are actively unfolding.