New bill drafted to develop three casinos in three North Carolina counties
North Carolina’s Republican legislators have drafted a new bill that would allow the state’s Anson, Nash, and Rockingham counties to develop and accommodate one casino each. The bill, which is currently in the draft form, intends to allow the first casino legalization outside the Native American reserved territories. Currently, only native tribes allowed to build and operate legal casinos.
It appears as if the move has been driven by the three counties’ comparatively higher rates of poverty. According to the 2020 census stats, the number of residents in all of the three counties is less than 100,000. While Rockingham and Anson have been designated by the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services as rural communities, Nash has been designated as an urban county.
Members of Republican Party wants to bring three gambling-friendly properties to the aforementioned three counties in order to provide a much-needed boost to their economies by promoting tourism and attracting more people to the otherwise passive areas. Meanwhile, a company named North Carolina Development Holdings has submitted a request to change the purpose of 192-acre plot of land in the Rockingham County to allow a broad range of commercial uses.
While NC Development hasn’t openly revealed any plan about using the concerned plot of land for developing a casino, its close connection with the Cordish Casino Division has prompted many to predict that the land would be used for building a gambling-friendly property. It is worth noting here that the Planning Board has turned down the company’s rezoning request for the plot of the land but there is still ray of hope as the issue will finally be decided by the Rockingham County Commission in its next meeting, which is scheduled to take place on 21st of August.
Phil Berger, a Republican who is representing Rockingham County, described rural tourism as “an economic shot” in the arm.
Speaking on the topic, Berger said, “Rural Tourism Districts are an economic shot in the arm for our Tier 1 counties. These districts, which go beyond gaming and include event spaces, restaurants, hotels and other attractions, will create thousands of jobs and open up several new streams of revenue for rural parts of the state.”
Proponents of the gambling expansion in the state believe that development of casinos would contribute approximately $6 million to the local economies by generating more than 1700 jobs for people and a new stream of tax revenue for the government.