Gambling Legislation

North Carolina city expresses interest in casino as legislation advances

Rocky Mount is on board with plans to possibly bring a casino to the city

Rocky Mount, North Carolina, recently threw its hat into the ring as a potential host city for a new land-based casino. Republican leaders in the General Assembly are working on strategies to boost legal gambling in the state, which could lead to four new land-based casinos in NC.

Legislators are drafting a bill that would authorize four “entertainment districts” with casinos, which is expected to be filed soon. The counties of Nash, Rockingham, and Anson are potential hosts for commercial casinos, while a fourth property would be opened in southeastern North Carolina and operated by the Lumbee tribe.

The chief of staff for Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson, Cary Cox, said in an interview with CBS17 in Raleigh that if the legislation is approved, one of the projects could be awarded to the city. However, Cox did not specify a proposed location. “We do want to participate because this opportunity could change our city in so many great ways,” he stated.

Chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, Robbie Davis, says the new casino site would be near the intersection of US 64 and I-95, but that couldn’t be confirmed by Rocky Mount city officials. The city expects talks to start “soon” but says no official has yet been contacted by casino developers.

Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), the Senate leader, said that local elected officials, such as a city council or county board of commissioners, would decide to approve a new casino. He says lawmakers are examining ways to include local residents in the discussion.

The Rocky Mount metro area had the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina in May, at 4.8%, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The statewide unemployment rate was at 3.4% that month.

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