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North Carolina Senator hints at potential for additional gambling options

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Staff member
Jan 17, 2008
Source - GamingAmerica

North Carolina enacted a law last month that authorized betting on sports and horseracing state-wide.
Senate leader Phil Berger has told reporters that chamber leaders have been in discussion about whether they should permit casinos
on non-tribal lands, authorize and regulate video gambling machines, or both.

When asked about the chances of legislating some new gambling methods and whether or not it would reach Democratic
Governor Roy Cooper's desk this summer, Berger replied, “I’d say better than 50-50. It's a serious discussion.”

North Carolina enacted a law last month that authorized betting on sports and horseracing state-wide, with the first wagers
expected in the first half of 2024. This was the first expansion in gambling since the state introduced its statewide lottery in 2005.

The state currently has three casinos, two of which are operated by American Indian Tribes. But legislators, in particular Berger,
are concerned about casinos that have opened recently in Virginia near the North Carolina border and where North Carolina residents are betting.

Berger said he traveled to Danville this month and estimates 80% of the vehicles in the casino parking lot had North Carolina
license plates. Authorizing North Carolina casinos is seen by advocates as a way to prevent out-of-state gambling, generate
revenue for the state and help economically depressed areas by providing jobs in the new venues.

Alongside the near-state competition, another obstacle to the authorization of further gambling could be linked to the moral
stance that is taken by some within the General Assembly, who say it's not worth the harm that gambling addiction causes to families and children.

A similar obstacle helped derail sports gambling in the House last year, but it was overtaken by pro-gambling forces in 2023.

John Rustin, President of North Carolina Family Policy Council, expressed that he believes more gambling options would create
more gamblers; and, “Just exacerbate all of the social problems that come along with gambling.”

He added, “Just because other states make poor choices doesn't mean that North Carolina should do the same."