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Gaming Commission, beer at bingo near legislative passage

July 11th, 2019

— Sin ruled the day in the state House on Thursday.

House members overwhelmingly approved the creation of a state Gaming Commission to oversee the lottery and other gambling enterprises and several tweaks to state liquor laws, including allowing alcohol to be sold at bingo parlors.

The Gaming Commission would assume control of the North Carolina Education Lottery and would also oversee bingo operations, raffles and boxing matches held in the state, including conducting background checks on operators, regulating event advertising and enforcing other rules.

The bill previously called for legalizing and regulating fantasy sports betting in North Carolina, but sponsor Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, said that was jettisoned along the way because of bipartisan opposition.

“This doesn’t expand gaming in any way,” Warren told House members, adding that the commission would conduct a study on the impact of sports betting in the state.

Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, tried to tack an amendment on the bill that would have made gambling losses tax-deductible, but that idea was roundly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The overall bill passed 86-26 and returns to the Senate for a final vote before going to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The alcohol omnibus bill includes provisions that would allow home delivery of alcohol, tastings at local Alcoholic Beverage Control stores and farmers markets, alcohol sales at bingo parlors and fortified wine sales at sports and entertainment venues and would create a special “common area entertainment” permit allowing alcohol sales and consumption in specified areas of shopping malls.

An effort by Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, to strip out the bingo parlor section of the bill failed on a close 54-58 vote.

“There are many children in these bingo parlors, and I really feel that alcohol should not be present,” Hurley said.

Hurley also objected to a section of the bill prohibiting the creation of any new local ABC boards, saying locales that approve liquor sales should have local control over sales. But bill supporters said some counties have up to nine local boards, and they want to encourage them to work together and consolidate operations.

The overall bill passed 86-28 and is also one Senate vote away from heading to Cooper.

Article source: https://www.wral.com/gaming-commission-beer-at-bingo-near-legislative-passage/18504520/

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