It’s becoming a big year for gambling expansion in North Carolina. The state is already trying to legalize sports betting, and now some lawmakers could introduce a new push to bring commercial casinos to the state.
North Carolina already has three tribal casinos but doesn’t have any that traditional gambling companies own. New competition next door from Virginia is stirring up support to change that.
Despite that, casino efforts shouldn’t derail the progress that North Carolina sports betting has already made.
Commercial casinos in North Carolina
There’s a real chance state senators might try to add casinos to North Carolina’s gambling lineup this year.
The potential push has been a long time in the making. Things are gaining momentum thanks to North Carolina’s northern neighbor.
Virginia is underdoing casino expansion of its own.
The state has already given the green light to a handful of commercial casinos locations in Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth and Norfolk. These locations are close to the North Carolina border, allowing them to attract plenty of bettors from both Virginia and North Carolina.
Because of that, some North Carolina lawmakers are starting to feel like the Tar Heel State is missing out. The argument is that if people are going to gamble at casinos anyway, why not keep that revenue and tax money within North Carolina?
Casinos are a separate issue from sports betting
The easiest way for lawmakers to push for casinos this year would be to introduce a new casino bill.
However, the timing for the state Legislature makes that easier said than done.
The state’s crossover deadline is Thursday. That’s the deadline for bills from the Senate to reach the House, and vice versa.
It isn’t realistic for a new bill to go through the entire process in time. Bills go through numerous committee hearings and rounds of debate before they make their way to the other chamber, and there isn’t much time left for a new casino bill to accomplish that.
The other way to get casinos into the mix this year would be to amend the state’s online sports betting bill. That bill is currently making its way through the Senate.
However, amending the sports betting bill to include casinos is even more unlikely than the chances of introducing a new standalone casino bill.
Simply put, sports betting and casinos are two completely different issues entirely. If a senator tries to amend the sports betting bill to add casinos, then it’s likely that that change would fail during its vote.
Lawmakers came painfully close to legalizing online sports betting last year. They’re not eager to derail the progress they’ve made in 2023.
Because of that, North Carolina casino hopefuls will have to wait until next year. With sports betting out of the way in 2024, that will open the door for lawmakers to focus on a casino push, which also could include online casinos. Operators such as FanDuel Casino would love to expand into the Tar Heel State.
Update: In June 2023, Governor Roy Cooper officially signed an online sports betting bill into law. In the first half of 2024, legal sportsbooks are now set to make their long-awaited debut in the state. With them come a multitude of enticing North Carolina sports betting promotions and sign-up bonuses, sure to captivate the state’s passionate sports betting community.