OPINION: What’s behind the push for more gambling in North Carolina? Follow the campaign donations.

OPINION: What’s behind the push for more gambling in North Carolina? Follow the campaign donations.

Article brief provided by The Charlotte Observer
  • Bob Hall, The Charlotte Observer
September 18, 2023 8:28 PM

What’s behind Republican leaders’ insistent push to legalize multiple forms of gambling — from online sports betting to casino developments — despite resistance from within their caucus and from core Republican voters, particularly evangelical Christians?

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It could be years before we know the full story. After Democratic N.C. Speaker Jim Black’s conviction two decades ago, new research emerged during his sentencing hearing that helped explain his adamant defense of video poker: he pocketed a $500,000 “loan” from the industry’s top lobbyist.

Today, N.C. lawmakers are receiving a surge in campaign contributions from gambling-related donors, even as they meet in Raleigh — an eye-popping $1 million in three years, with most of that in the past year.