RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina has gone without an approved budget for 73 days.

As the budget appears to be approaching the finish line, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said Tuesday that the one thing holding up the budget is gaming. Republicans have been discussing legalizing four more casinos and video lottery terminals statewide.

An email obtained by CBS 17 last week shows that as far as gaming is concerned, there are likely not enough House Republicans willing to support including that in the budget. At this time, about 30 House Republicans are in opposition to it.

Since there was no budget approved by July 1, spending in the state must remain the same as the prior state budget passed in 2021 until a new one is agreed on.

While discussions to resolve issues in the budget have continued beyond the start of the fiscal year, state employees have been holding out hope for raises. According to health officials, no resolution on the budget has also pushed the start date for Medicaid expansion until at least the end of the year.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper (D) urged Republicans to move the process along once schools reopened to get the raises for teachers and school employees out of limbo.

“Come in and work nights and weekends if necessary, but get a budget done by the end of this month,” said Cooper. 

In contrast to Speaker Moore’s comments Tuesday, N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger (R) outright denied that gaming is the issue holding up the budget in late August.

“The fact that the casino question is still out there is not in any way, shape, manner or form slowing things down,” Moore said. “Casino revenue is not necessary to address the tax reductions that we have already agreed to.” 

With the budget talks now in the final stages, House Speaker Moore told CBS 17 on Aug. 29 that it would be “more than likely” that votes on it will occur the week of Sept. 11. Now it’s a question of if Sen. Berger is willing to drop gaming from the budget in order to get it passed.