Gambling Legislation

North Carolina’s Rockingham County gets behind casino initiative

The county’s leaders have approved a measure that will allow a casino to be built

Commissioners in Rockingham County, North Carolina, voted 5-0 on Monday in favor of rezoning a 192-acre plot of land to build a new casino. The commissioners first listened to comments from local residents who opposed the new development in their community.

Kelly Demry urged the commissioners to “Do what is right. Vote no for our community, but most importantly, vote no for our children. If you do not, you will get a ‘no’ vote for me if you seek reelection.”

The “think of the children” argument is often used in cases like this, but this time, it’s for a specific reason. The residential and agricultural land will be rezoned as highway commercial. While it’s not in operation for most of the year, the camp hosts various groups and events, and the casino would be constructed close by.

Camp Carefree treasurer Rhonda Rodenbough said, “Let’s stop here and take responsibility for what your jobs are — to oversee the benefits of the citizens of Rockingham County. Don’t just look to the developers who keep coming in, wanting to buy our property, wanting to overcrowd our residents, wanting to take parcels of land, and turn them into entertainment districts.”

North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Mark Walker, a former U.S. Congressman, called the proposal the “worst kept secret in North Carolina,” saying, “The way this has been handled — the lack of transparency — has not spoken well. It has come across as a railroad job.”

There’s still no guarantee a casino will be built in Rockingham County, as state lawmakers must first pass legislation to legalize commercial casinos. They have debated a proposal to legalize four more casinos in North Carolina besides the three owned and operated by Native American tribes.

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