At a rare evening press conference held after session on Tuesday night, North Carolina’s top legislative leaders, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), announced that a state budget would move forward, but without a highly controversial proposal that would authorize four commercial gambling casinos and tens of thousands of additional video gambling machines across North Carolina.
“The NC Family Policy Council is extremely grateful that North Carolina’s legislative leaders have abandoned efforts to impose harmful commercial gambling casinos and video lottery machines on the citizens of our state,” said NC Family President John L. Rustin. “NC Family offers our sincere thanks to the faithful members of the State House and State Senate who stood their ground, under extreme pressure, to protect our state from the ravages of gambling, gambling addiction, and the predatory gambling industry. We also thank citizens from Rockingham, Nash, and Anson counties and from all across North Carolina who made their concerns and interests know to their state lawmakers.”
The gambling expansion proposal would have paved the way for three massive commercial gambling casino developments in Rockingham, Nash, and Anson counties, as well as one in eastern North Carolina operated by the Lumbee Indian Tribe. It also would have granted authorization to the State Lottery Commission to put into operation tens of thousands of video lottery terminals (i.e. video gambling machines) in convenience stores, bars, and restaurants across the state.
According to Senator Berger and Speaker Moore, a conference report on the much-delayed state budget is expected to be voted on by members of the State House and State Senate this Thursday and Friday.
In the press conference, Senator Berger reiterated his commitment to pursue gambling casinos and video lottery terminals in North Carolina, but suggested the effort was dead for the remainder of this year.