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North Carolina lawmakers introduce plan to legalize video gaming

A group of lawmakers has proposed a plan to legalize slot machines and other video gaming machines in North Carolina.

House Bill 954 authorizes and spells outs regulation for video lottery games in North Carolina. It allows select licensed providers to offer video lottery terminals, while a percentage of the revenue goes to the state.

North Carolina would use its portion of the funding to support historically Black colleges and universities, provide scholarships and regulate the industry.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission would oversee the video gambling industry. The machines would not dispense coins, cash or tokens. Players could receive free games or credits redeemable for cash.

The bill directs the commission to use up to $10 million from the North Carolina State Lottery Fund to launch operations. It must repay any money withdrawn from the fund within 24 months after the bill becomes law.

Licensees would be required to pay fees to the state. The lottery commission must decide the price tag for the license fees. Licensees also would be required to pay an annual privilege tax to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Under the current version of HB 954, manufacturers must pay $50,000 in privilege tax each year. Video lottery operators would be required to pay $25,000 plus $150 for each video machine licensed to the operator. Video lottery merchants must pay $1,000 plus $150 for each retail location.

Up to 32% of the total net revenues from the machines would be transferred to a new North Carolina Video Lottery Fund. Up to 8% of total annual net revenues can be used for administrative expenses. Operators would get 35% of net revenues, and merchants would get 25% of the revenues from the machines.

The commission must transfer unused revenue to the North Carolina Video Lottery Fund.

The General Assembly would be required to allocate money from the new fund each fiscal year for forgivable loans for community college students.

The measure also sets aside $2 million from the fund annually to support and improve graduation rates at Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State, North Carolina Central and Winston-Salem State universities.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Harry Warren, R-Rowan; Timothy Moffit, R-Henderson; Howard Hunter, D-Hertford; and Michael Wray, D-Northampton.

Opponents of legalized gambling say it can increase gambling addiction, crime, and other social costs.

This article was originally posted on North Carolina lawmakers introduce plan to legalize video gaming