April 19, 2024

๐Ÿ™Œ Friday! We're glad to see you.

โ›ˆ๏ธ Weather: High of 84ยฐ with severe thunderstorms this evening.

๐ŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Raleigh members Gary Lucido and Crutcher Battin! And happy early birthday to members Andrew Hewat and Kerry Bessey!

๐Ÿ’ฐ Situational awareness: Durham leaders plan to put a $200 million bond referendum on the November ballot to improve the city's parks, streets and sidewalks, the News & Observer reports.

Today's Smart Brevityโ„ข๏ธ count is 815 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Diverging takes on incentives

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals; Photos: Drew Angerer and Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For more than 20 years, North Carolina has wielded its incentives program to grow its economy and lure corporate expansions to the state โ€” from large-scale manufacturers such as Toyota to tech companies like Apple.

  • But this year's gubernatorial election will be a contest between candidates with differing views on the tool.

Why it matters: The governor is in charge of appointing the state's commerce secretary and a majority of the Economic Investment Committee, which decides whether the state extends incentives to a company.

Between the lines: When North Carolina celebrated its economic ties with Japan this month, the Japanese prime minister's tour included two sites that had both received state incentives โ€” Toyota and Honda Aircraft in Greensboro.

Zoom in: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, has for years said he's not a fan of the program. In 2020, he said the state shouldn't offer incentives. In 2022, he referred to incentives as "bribing."

  • Robinson has not called for the elimination of incentives programs but has been clear he is not in favor of them.

The other side: Josh Stein, the state's attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor, said in a statement that he supports the use of "performance-based incentives" in North Carolina.

Full story

2. ๐Ÿ’ฐ N.C.'s bet on legal sports gambling pays off

A DraftKings' advertisement on a light rail train in Charlotte. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

North Carolina burst out of the gate during its first month of legal mobile sports betting โ€” with a total bet of $659.3 million between March 11-31, according to data from the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, Axios' Ashley Mahoney reports.

Why it matters: North Carolinians embraced mobile sports betting last month, but time will tell if its novelty wears off, UNC Charlotte economics professor Craig Depken tells Axios.

By the numbers: Promotional wagers from sportsbooks accounted for $202.6 million of the total $659.3 million bet.

  • Total won: $590.8 million.
  • North Carolinians lost about $66.5 million (considering the total number of bets placed, won and canceled). North Carolina taxes this amount, which is known as gross wagering revenue, by 18%.

What we're watching: After a strong start, things may slow down until the NFL's fall return, Depken says. But the summer Olympic games in Paris could create a slight uptick in bets.

  • How much of a factor promotional bets will be going forward and if the "free money" will hook sportsbook users will also play a part.

Go deeper

Sponsored event listings

Stay booked and busy

๐Ÿ“… Check out what's going around Raleigh.

Gatsby's Prohibition Party - Immersive Show and Cocktail Experience at Theatre Raleigh Arts Center April 24-28: Guests will travel back in time to an era of elegance, swinging jazz, flapper dresses, timeless suits and endless champagne at this Great Gatsby-inspired fรชte. Indulge in a 75-minute show adapted from the classic novel, and rub shoulders with Raleigh's finest.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

3. The Tea: North Carolina's $1 billion surplus

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

๐Ÿค‘ North Carolina will have a revenue surplus of $413 million this fiscal year and is forecasted to have a $1 billion surplus next year, due to higher tax revenues than anticipated. (Associated Press)

๐ŸŒฎ Armadillo Grill is closing in Raleigh's Glenwood South neighborhood after more than 20 years of serving late-night food in the entertainment district. (News & Observer ๐Ÿ”’)

๐Ÿ’ฐ Raleigh City Council approved expanding the special tax district downtown to include more parts north and west of downtown. (Triangle Business Journal ๐Ÿ”’)

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies is laying off 67 workers at its Research Triangle Park operation as it restructures one of its business units. (Business NC)

๐Ÿ“ฒ A viral video out of Asheville shows a group of people pulling two bear cubs from a tree to take pictures with them. Wildlife experts say one cub was left orphaned and potentially harmed. (CBS)

๐Ÿช Developer BrodyCo has proposed changes to Lakewood Shopping Center in Durham, including renovating existing storefronts and adding more retail space and climate-controlled storage units. (INDY Week)

  • During a neighborhood meeting, residents said they were displeased about the lack of housing included in the proposal and the inclusion of storage units.

๐Ÿ€ Former UNC basketball player Dontrez Styles is transferring from Georgetown to play at N.C. State next year. (On3)

4. โ˜€๏ธ Things to do this weekend

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

There's plenty to do this weekend across the Triangle, from Earth Day celebrations to live music and good eating.

๐Ÿช• Head out to the 'Cuegrass Festival โ€” an annual music and barbecue celebration by the Pit that returns to Raleigh's Fayetteville Street on Saturday.

๐Ÿฅ™ Eat and dance at Raleigh's annual Lebanese Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

๐ŸŽต Support your local record shop during Saturday's Record Store Day, featuring special releases and events.

๐ŸŒŽ Celebrate Earth Day early at Apex's EarthFest Saturday.

๐Ÿ›๏ธ Head south to downtown Holly Springs for SpringsFest, featuring more than 100 vendors, local breweries and live music and entertainment.

๐Ÿšธ Take your kids to Cary's Children's Day Festival in Downtown Cary Park Saturday.

โšพ๏ธ Watch N.C. State baseball host UNC in Raleigh today and Saturday.

๐Ÿฅ Enjoy the weather and watch live music on the porch at Chapel Hill's Carolina Inn this evening.

๐Ÿ›ป Bring the family to Touch-A-Truck at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Training and Driving Track in Raleigh on Saturday.

๐Ÿƒ Learn more about hemp at The Hemparoo in Pittsboro, featuring live music, educational panels and vendors.

Share this weekender

๐Ÿ— Zachery learned that the guy from "Hot Ones" does corporate events and SAS made its chief technology officer do the hot wing challenge.

๐Ÿซถ Share our free newsletter around the Triangle.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Lucia Maher.