June 26, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

North Carolina’s Gambling Expansion Debate Intensifies with Donations

A seasoned expert highlighted that lawmakers and political committees in North Carolina received more than $3 million in donations from the gambling sector

North Carolina was among the states that launched retail sports betting in March 2021. Several years later, this March, the state officially launched its mobile betting market, paving the way for the further expansion of industry leaders such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM, among other operators.

Amid the expansion of gambling activities with the addition of retail and mobile betting, the debate about the development of a handful of new casinos intensified. A plan supported by Sen. Phil Berger that called for the creation of three new “entertainment centers,” captured the attention of the gambling sector.

Recognizable gaming and entertainment companies showed interest in the plan that sought to grow the land-based gambling vertical in North Carolina. However, the proposal caught the attention of residents across the state and anti-gambling groups too, who have repeatedly voiced their concerns, temporarily halting the efforts toward the development of three new entertainment centers.

The Gambling Expansion Will Generate Tax Revenue

Regardless of the pushback from communities and anti-gambling groups, the gambling sector’s lobbying in North Carolina intensified, a newly released report suggests.

Bob Hall, the former executive director of the group Democracy North Carolina and a seasoned expert in the political vertical, submitted an op-ed piece with NC Newsline, highlighting that the gambling sector donated more than $3 million to political committees and lawmakers in the state. The generous donations are reportedly backing the reelection of lawmakers too.

Hall revealed that gambling industry lobbyists praised the benefits of legalizing gambling devices like video lottery terminals (VLTs) as a means to generate additional tax revenue. Those efforts come ahead of an expected deficit in 2027 which is the direct result of implemented tax cuts for wealthy individuals and different corporations.

As explained by Hall: “In other words, let the poor subsidize tax breaks for the rich. Because that’s a view many GOP legislators apparently appreciate, lobbyists hope their message will overtake longstanding concerns about gambling.”

The expert highlighted another concern related to the position of the North Carolina Sheriffs Association. According to Hall, the Association was among the opponents of the gambling expansion and has repeatedly warned that the activity is tied to increased criminal acts.

Yet, a proposal calling for the legalization of VLTs seeks to dedicate funds derived from the activity to law enforcement. This, according to Hall, resulted in the Association going “pretty quiet,” despite their previously strong opposition.

In the op-ed piece, the political watchdog revealed that the donations in North Carolina were completed between January 2022 and March 2024. Notably, Hall mentioned a “little noticed” $50,000 donation made by The Cordish Companies, which is the developer of a proposed casino resort in Rockingham County. He also mentioned a $635,850 donation from the leading video poker machine vendor from Greenville, Grover Gaming.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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