As North Carolina sports betting legislation made its way through the House of Representatives, the public showed an interest in non-tribal casinos.
According to a Meredith College poll, North Carolina voters support legalizing non-tribal casinos. The state is currently home to three tribal casinos:
- Harrah’s Cherokee
- Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
- Catawba Two Kings
North Carolinians seem more open to all forms of gambling
The February publication of the Meredith Poll reveals that a smaller majority (54%) support legalizing casinos on non-tribal land, while 35% oppose the idea.
Support was consistent across most demographic groups, with only those who self-identify as most conservative having less than the majority of participants supporting North Carolina casinos.
As the Meredith Poll Director, David McLennan, described in the Meredith February 2024 poll:
“Most North Carolinians seem accustomed to all forms of gambling, so supporting casino gambling in the state does not seem unusual. We have the lottery and have just adopted online sports wagering in the state. Plus, many states, including those on the border of the state, now have casino gambling, so even citizens who might have had objections to casino gambling 20 years ago might be resigned to the fact that all forms of gambling are inevitable.”
Responding to whether they support legislation allowing the operation of casinos, here is how North Carolinians replied:
- 24% strongly support it
- 33% somewhat support it
- 16% somewhat oppose it
- 19% strongly oppose it
- 9% don’t know
North Carolina lawmakers’ push to authorize non-tribal casinos failed
In June, Gov. Roy Cooper signed the state’s first significant gambling expansion, legalizing online sports betting and retail betting at professional sports stadiums and venues.
After the state legalized online sports betting, which was due July 1, there were several proposals taking advantage of the situation. One of the initiatives was a proposal to legalize online casinos in North Carolina.
In conjunction with The Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based casino operator, Sen. President Phil Berger pushed legislation to allow the building of up to four commercial casino resorts in the three rural counties:
The future casino resorts would include hotels, restaurants, shopping and other amenities.
Berger joined House Speaker Tim Moore in supporting the gaming exposure in October. However, Moore later withdrew his support, and Berger dropped his proposal to legalize four more casinos as part of the state budget, which also included and video lottery terminals.
Several House Republicans opposed the idea, saying they would refuse to vote for the budget if the casino proposal were to be included.
As the debate on whether to legalize North Carolina casinos continues, the public’s support, like the one shown in this poll, could play a vital role in forming the state’s future legislation.