Commercial casinos in North Carolina are still banned. This leaves only three tribal casinos operating in the state. Yet, the Nash County officials have voted on a regulation requiring the state to approve a local referendum on a casino when lawmakers legalize commercial gaming.
Led by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, lawmakers believe that residents go to play casino games in Virginia. As such, Raleigh lawmakers want to allow commercial casinos in Anson, Rockingham, and Nash counties.
The idea of bringing a casino to the city without consulting residents has left many frustrated. This led to Nash County officials voting 6-1 to ensure that the residents have the last say about a casino.
Notably, there is no casino bill in the General Assembly. Instead, the Senate President is reportedly considering inserting the casino bill into the legislature’s budget bill. North Carolina has extended its legislative session partly to discuss the budget bill.
Nash County Wants to Be Considered
According to Nash County Commissioners, constituents should have a last say on a casino. Ideally, lawmakers want a casino along Interstate 95. The I-95 passes through Nash County, too, with Rocky Mount being a perfect stop for motorists.
Nash County officials admitted they had not been looped in about the casino discussions. However, the Commission chairperson, Robbie Davis, confirmed to Triangle Business Journal that he was in a meeting a few months back that touched on a casino plan projected for Rocky Mount.
Davis could not share the details about the casino developer or anything. During the meeting, the County Commissioner Chair signed a non-disclosure agreement. According to Davis, Nash residents should decide whether they want a casino in their community.
A casino is a controversial business. As such, Davis feels that the best way of dealing with such a matter should be through voting.
Davis continued to explain that having a casino in Nash County was a bad idea. The commissioner said the county was the poorest in North Carolina, and bringing a casino there would make things worse.
Suppose North Carolina approves the bill authorizing a casino in Nash County. The county would ask the state to hold a referendum. Raleigh lawmakers would be lobbied to consider supporting the regulation approved by the Nash County Board of Commissioners.
Sandy Supports a Casino Resort
Not every county commissioner disagrees with a casino on Interstate 95. Only one Nash County Commissioner voted against people deciding about a casino. Marvin Arrington said that only residents in a targeted host city should have the right to weigh in on the issue.
The Mayor of Rocky Mount, Sandy Roberson, agrees that the I-95 city needs a casino resort. Sandy believes having a casino in the city would create a live-work environment that would attract people to the location.
Rocky Mount Mayor was talking to the Rocky Mount Telegram. He continued to say that entertainment, services, and experiences would drive the city.
If a casino bill is introduced and approved, each casino developer would invest $500 million. The developer would also employ over 1,700 people.