Gambling Legislation

North Carolina’s casino legislation efforts continue controversy

Local lawmakers in Nash County clash with residents over the casino’s future

The prospect of having a casino, hotel, and entertainment venue in Rocky Mount has support from many because of the jobs and revenue it would bring to the area. However, opponents believe the casinos would harm the communities they would be located in.

An information meeting was held Friday at Old Carriage Road Baptist Church, with local residents hearing arguments regarding the proposed 350-acre casino complex across from Nash Community College. However, many residents learned for the first time that the bill might be added to North Carolina’s 2023-24 budget bill without citizens voting on a referendum.

Representative Allen Chesser presented information on the casino’s projected economic impact and is neither opposed to nor in favor of casino gaming. However, he says he favors the local jobs that would be created. Chesser said the proposed casinos in Nash, Rockingham, and Anson counties would create an estimated 4,500 to 9,000 new jobs.

Chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, Robbie Davis, said he and the rest of the board’s Republican majority oppose a casino in Nash County. At the meeting on Friday, Davis said casino gambling is not the answer to what’s hurting Nash County economically. He also called the strategy to add casino gambling to the upcoming budget without first getting approval from Nash County residents “crazy.”

After consulting with other sheriffs and police chiefs, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone thinks that a casino like the one slated for Nash County would introduce fewer problems than several casinos spread throughout different areas. Stone also said his department would need additional funds for recruiting and retaining experienced law enforcement personnel to meet the increase in service calls.

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