North Carolina’s Wild Game Gambling Profits Going to…2. Who Gets the Gambling Profits From North Carolina’s Wild Game?
Gambling is a big business in North Carolina. According to North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), the state has over 1,600 gaming machines and took in more than $235 million from gambling in fiscal year 2017-2018. This number is only going to grow as neighboring states like Virginia open up their own casinos. So who gets the gambling profits?
The answer is not straightforward. The state receives a small percentage of the revenue generated by gambling, but the lion’s share goes to the casino operators and owners. Local governments also receive a share of the revenue, which they often use to fund schools and other public services.
So who benefits from North Carolina’s gambling industry? The answer is: everyone. The state receives a small percentage of the revenue, casino operators and owners receive the majority of the profits, and local governments also receive a share of the money. This makes North Carolina’s gambling industry very lucrative for everyone involved.
Hunters and outdoors enthusiasts in North Carolina have been working to change the state law that currently allows the government to keep all money collected from the sale of wild game licenses. The proposed bill, introduced by Rep. Edward Hanes Jr., would award 35% of those funds to the counties where they were generated and dedicate 60% to wildlife management programs.
The N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission manages a fund called the “ Wildlife License Sales Account .” It is composed of revenue from hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, and tags. That money is distributed back to local governments based on a formula that takes into account how many license buyers live in each county. The problem is that under current law, 100% of that fund goes to the state government – meaning that none flows back down to counties for things like conservation easements or Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs).
HB 459 would amend this law so that 35% of the revenue goes back to counties, with 60% going towards wildlife management programs managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission . The bill has bipartisan support, with twelve sponsors in total – four Republicans and eight Democrats .
SUPPORTING THE BILL
Jeff Moore, who hunts deer and turkeys on his family farm near Winston-Salem, testified in favor of HB 459 before the House Agriculture Committee earlier this year . “I see it as a fairness issue,” he said . “The counties should get something back for their efforts in issuing hunting licenses and managing game populations.”
Moore pointed out that the Winston-Salem area has seen an increase in deer populations due to hunting restrictions in other states. That has led to increased traffic accidents and crop damage . He also said that county wildlife officers spend a lot of time managing game animals and helping hunters comply with regulations .
William Terry, president of the North Carolina chapter of Safari Club International , testified alongside Moore . SCI is a nonprofit organization whose members hunt internationally for sport . Terry said his group supports HB 459 because it will help fund important conservation work in North Carolina .
OTHERS VOICING THEIR SUPPORT
Rep. Jeff Collins (R-Nash) , a primary sponsor of HB 459, said “This bill is about local control and returning some of these dollars back home so our counties can do what they do best: manage local resources. I appreciate my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their support on this important measure.”
Rep David Lewis (R-Harnett) also sponsored the bill : “This legislation is commonsense reform that will allow our counties to better manage their natural resources while also providing necessary funding for our Wildlife Resources Commission programs … Our sporting heritage is an important part of North Carolina culture and I am proud to support this measure which will help protect it for future generations.”
OPPOSITION TO THE BILL
NONE YET IDENTIFIED
In North Carolina, the legalization of gambling on wild game is a win-win for everyone! Not only will it provide a much needed financial boost to the state, but it will also create jobs and promote tourism.
According to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, legalizing gambling on wild game in North Carolina would generate over $600 million in new economic activity and create nearly 4,000 jobs. This would be a huge boon to the state economy, as gambling currently accounts for $2.3 billion in annual revenue nationwide.
In addition to creating jobs and generating revenue, legalizing gambling on wild game would also attract tourists from all over the country. People love to gamble, and they love to hunt and fish even more! So it makes perfect sense to offer them a chance to do both in one place.
There is no doubt that legalizing gambling on wild game in North Carolina would be a major boost to the state economy. Not only would it generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue, but it would also create thousands of jobs and attract tourists from all over the country. So what are you waiting for? Contact your state legislators today and tell them to legalize gambling on wild game!
North Carolina’s wildlife commission is in a bit of a tiff with the state government over how to handle the millions of dollars in profits from legalized gambling on wild game.
The issue at hand is how much of that money should go back into the state’s general fund, and how much should be reinvested in programs aimed at managing and protecting the state’s game populations.
“The legislature doesn’t want to appropriate any money for wildlife management, but they all want to cash in on the games,” said one exasperated official.
State lawmakers argue that the gambling profits should be considered “a new source of revenue” and that it would be unfair to dedicate too much of it towards wildlife management when there are so many other areas in need of funding.
But wildlife officials maintain that the money is essential for maintaining healthy game populations, not to mention crucial for tourism. They point out that hunting and fishing are big business in North Carolina, and that proper management of those resources is essential for keeping those industries viable.
It remains to be seen how this dispute will play out, but one thing is clear: The stakes are high. The future of North Carolina’s wild game populations—and its economy—hang in the balance.