Legalizing more casino gambling in the state is a hot topic in Raleigh these days.

But according to a recent survey of Republican and unaffiliated voters, the way the legislature is considering expanding casino gambling is not popular with those likely to vote in the Republican primary.

A draft of a bill to legalize casino gambling in three counties – Rockingham, Anson and Nash – and select one company to run the new casinos, is making the rounds.  However, the bill has not been introduced and it appears the current plan is to approve the legislation in the draft bill as part of the budget.

Not introducing the bill to expand legalized casino gambling in the state as a stand-alone bill would result in no committee meetings where the public can comment on the issue and no separate vote.  Legislators would have the choice of voting for the budget that included expanding legalized casino gambling in the state or voting against the entire budget that includes raises for state employees, including teachers and everything else in the $30 billion budget.

According to the survey done by political consultant Andy Yates, 33 percent of those surveyed were in favor of legislation to expand and legalize gambling with four new casinos that would “offer Las Vegas-style gambling” and 53 percent were opposed.

Allowing only one company to operate the new casinos dropped the number of those in favor to 13 percent and increased those opposed to the legislation to 67 percent.

Not having committee hearings and not allowing for public input on the move to expand legalized gambling in the state resulted in 18 percent in favor and 64 percent opposed.

A question asked, that may have resonance with the legislators in Raleigh, is if those being surveyed would be more likely to support or more likely to oppose a candidate who favors expanding gambling across North Carolina.

Of those surveyed, 27 percent said they would be more likely to favor a candidate that favored expanding gambling and 49 percent said they would be more likely to oppose such a candidate.