Baltimore Casino Company Personnel Funded North Carolina Lawmakers

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting Casino


  • There is concern the donations will give The Cordish Cos. a leg up in securing casino development rights
  • The eight lawmakers were able to receive up to $5,600 in donations in 2022 and $6,400 in 2023
  • North Carolina plans to build the casinos in $1.5 billion projects that also include entire entertainment districts

A Maryland casino company made campaign donations to a group of North Carolina lawmakers that are now drafting a bill to build three new local casinos. 

The Cordish Companies, a casino development company based in Baltimore, was responsible for contributions to at least eight politicians. There is concern that if the lawmakers proceed with the draft to the benefit of The Cordish Cos., it will perpetuate a system wherein businesses and political parties work for one another.

The donations were made by four individuals with ties to Cordish and totaled just under $35,000. They were received from November 2022-March 2023, according to public records.

Toeing the line

The Cordish Companies did not violate any laws as an out-of-state entity funding the campaigns of various officials. According to state law, candidates can accept up to $6,400 per election cycle from donors (that number was $5,600 in 2022).

Regardless of the legality, there has been an outcry that The Cordish Cos. have wedged themselves into an unfair position as a company that stands to gain significantly if the bill is passed. It is also believed that they would have an advantage in pursuing development licenses for the casinos, again, if the bill is approved.

“It could be the tip of the iceberg of the money that is falling into political campaigns and dark money operations that will be or have been funding General Assembly candidates and politicians,” said Bob Hall, the former executive director of Democracy NC. “[But] it’s not illegal.” 

The bill that is making its rounds would allow one business to develop three casinos across the Tar Heel State. House Speaker Tim Moore said the planned build sites are in Anson, Nash, and Rockingham but did not reveal specific locations.

Sen. Phil Berger, a Republican from District 26 (which includes Rockingham), received that maximum $5,600 donation in November 2022 from Joseph Weinberg, CEO of Cordish Gaming Group and Cordish Global Cities Entertainment. NC Development Holdings, which has ties to Cordish, also asked to rezone roughly 200 acres of land in Rockingham in June to make it available for a variety of uses.

There were also a plethora of other donations from officials tied to Cordish.

Future plans

There could be as many as four new casinos coming to North Carolina. The state Congress is still debating a course of action as it sets its budget for the coming year.

The plan is for the new casinos to not be standalone destinations but part of entire entertainment districts and catch-all gathering areas. For example, centers that include the main casino, hotels, restaurants, and much more. 

Each project would require a $1.5 billion investment, according to a copy of a bill draft. 

Interestingly, the targeted areas for the new casino projects would be below 100,000 in local population and among the 40 lowest-earning economic districts. There is hope that adding these attractions would create jobs and help improve the local economy. 

There’s also pressure for North Carolina to add more attractions for gamblers since it is losing business to nearby states.

“People who are gambling are going to do so in Virginia anyway, so why not bring those economic benefits to North Carolina?” said Christopher Cooper, a political science and public affairs professor at Western Carolina University. “That’s their pitch. Timing is important in public policy, and it’s about getting people to care about the issue.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper last month approved an online sports betting bill that drastically expanded the reaches of sports wagering. Bettors had previously only been allowed to cast wagers at a few retail locations powered by Caesars Sportsbook. Lawmakers also considered nixing a ban on video gaming terminals but did not get around to doing so.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.