Gambling Legislation

North Carolina casino legalization discussion not totally dead

North Carolina casino legalization discussion not totally dead

Lawmakers continue to prepare new casino expansion efforts for the 2024 session

North Carolina State Representative Michael Wray confirmed yesterday that proposed casino legislation in the state is still alive and that lawmakers will discuss the issue in the short session of the general assembly next year since Halifax County has become the focus of developers. However, it wasn’t easy to stand out in a process that has drawn on for almost two years, with talks focused on casinos and video lottery terminals.

“The process had been going on with one particular company and it got to a point that some people didn’t feel like one company should have all the casinos in North Carolina,” said Wray.

Four sites were originally targeted for a new casino. Rockingham County, Anson County, Rocky Mount and a site chosen for the Lumbee Tribe. “They were the four sites that were picked, and there were a lot of negotiations going on,” he said.

The original proposal stated that Tier 1 county sites must be at least 60 miles from a major airport, while Halifax County is about 72 miles away. “I got them to put language in there (for) 75 miles,” said Wray.

The shift now puts Halifax, Vance, Warren and Northampton counties into the fray. “With all the overwhelming support that we were having in the local community, we caught the attention of development groups that were looking to do casinos across the state, and we went from basically a ground-level zero to about a nine. We weren’t even a beacon in the beginning of the session and we will continue to move forward.”

Lawmakers are starting to discuss redistricting in the current session, expected to end this month, with the casino issue projected to be the main topic of the upcoming short session.

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