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North Carolina Lawmakers Show Optimism for Expanded Gambling

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A prominent legislator in North Carolina showed optimism on Thursday regarding the potential for additional growth in state-approved gambling. He gave the chances for the approval of ongoing legislative talks before the conclusion of this year's legislative session better than 50%.

Non-tribal Gambling Efforts Still Alive

The state’s General Assembly remains in session as negotiations over budget issues between Republicans in both the House and Senate continue. The new budget was supposed to be in place by July 1, but reaching an agreement has become difficult.

According to Senate President Phil Berger, the House leaders also remain engaged in deliberations regarding the authorization and regulation of electronic gaming machines, and casinos off of tribal land. When a reporter asked him if gambling legislation would make it to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk before the end of the summer, he said the likelihood was “better than 50-50."

In a monumental move last month, lawmakers recently approved a bill granting permission for sports and horse racing betting throughout the state. The historic expansion of gambling, akin to the establishment of the state lottery in 2005, is anticipated to bring the first wagers early next year.

Advocates perceive the legalization of casinos in North Carolina as a means to eradicate offshore gambling. It will also generate revenue for both state and local reserves and bolster the struggling economy by providing job opportunities.

State Residents Jump the Border

North Carolina boasts three casinos run by two indigenous tribes. Concerns have arisen among lawmakers, with Berger at the forefront, regarding the presence of a newly established casino situated near the North Carolina-Virginia border, which has become a popular destination for gambling among North Carolina residents.

The recently opened casino is located in Danville, Virginia, approximately 25 miles away from Eden. During a recent visit to the city, Berger, who’s from Eden, made note of an astonishing observation - an overwhelming 80% of the vehicles parked in the casino's lot carried North Carolina license plates.

On Wednesday, Jason Saine, the prominent budget negotiator and Lincoln County Representative, expressed uncertainty regarding his colleagues' potential response to the notion of introducing a casino and other gambling activity.

This uncertainty stems from the Senate's failure to pass the corresponding policy, leaving its fate hanging in the balance. The potential offerings of casinos could be influenced by various factors, such as the allowable quantity determined through local referenda and contingent upon the percentage allotted to the state.

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