The state of North Carolina has revisited the possibility of legalizing and regulating video gambling machines, according to a recent Associated Press report. A House Committee recently met to debate the proposal.
The state has considered a video gambling machine-regulated market before. A similar bill was proposed in 2021 but stalled during the legislative session.
Representative Harry Warren previously pitched the 2021 bill and revived his proposal before the House Committee. He suggested that regulating video gambling machines through the North Carolina State Lottery Commission “would stamp out illegal activity.”
Warren’s bill would “direct the lottery commission to oversee the distribution of lawful machines in places with alcohol beverage licenses, such as bars, restaurants and convenience stores.” It would require licensing for machine manufacturers and owners, as well as allow patrons to play games for cash winnings.
Warren addressed the House Commerce Committee and pointed out some potential advantages for allowing video gambling machines.
He said, “The real reason that these things flourish is because people play them. By restricting, regulating and reducing the supply, we can eliminate sweepstakes parlors and the seedy aspects of unregulated gambling, replacing it with a limited supply of gaming entertainment that fulfills the public demand in a safer, controlled environment and safer conditions.”
He went on to add that video gambling machines continue to gain momentum in various venues despite state prohibitions laws. Warren estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 illegal gaming machines are currently in use around the state.
The proposal would need to pass the House committee before moving to the House floor. The Committee did not vote on the issue following the recent debate.
Since the Supreme Court repealed PASPA in 2018, online gambling is currently available in more than 35 states, with 18 of those allowing for legal online sports wagering.