Casinos fail to get support needed to be part of NC’s state budget, House speaker says

House Speaker Tim Moore has informed his Republican colleagues that a controversial proposal to open new casinos in North Carolina hasn’t drawn enough support to make it into the state budget, his office confirmed.

In an email to the House Republican Caucus sent Wednesday night, Moore said Republicans would not pass a state budget that didn’t have at least 61 House GOP votes, a majority of the 120-member House. Moore went on to say that “there are not 61 Republicans willing to vote for the budget if it includes gaming.”

The email was first reported by CBS 17. Moore spokesperson Demi Dowdy confirmed to The News & Observer that Moore had sent the email to House Republicans.

GOP lawmakers are expected to release and vote on a final state budget next week, but Moore said in his email that House Republicans should expect another caucus meeting next week “about the budget without gaming.”

During their last caucus meeting on Tuesday, House Republicans met for more than three hours to discuss the proposal, which could approve up to four new casinos across the state. After the meeting, Moore told reporters that GOP leaders were still trying to determine if enough Republicans would back the plan.

Senate leader Phil Berger, meanwhile, has said he believes the casino proposal will either advance by being included in the budget, or not at all.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Berger reiterated that a standalone bill sanctioning new casinos was not likely to pass this session, according to CBS 17.

Asked if Moore was indicating in his email that the casino proposal was not going to move forward at all, even as a standalone bill, Dowdy said that discussions in the House Republican Caucus were ongoing.