The North Carolina casino discussion is heating up as another county is considering whether or not it would be a suitable location.
The Nash County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 to hold a referendum putting the question to voters.
According to the Rocky Mount Telegram, the referendum could appear on a ballot during the 2024 primary elections. The commissioner’s decision comes as state lawmakers work on a plan to build four casinos in North Carolina.
Not much support for a new casino in North Carolina
Although county officials moved to hold a referendum, it appears few are on board with having a casino. During a special meeting on July 28, Commissioner Dan Cone said:
“I move for a resolution that the Nash County Board of Commissioners is opposed to locating a casino in Nash County without a vote for approval by voters of Nash County.”
Other counties like Rockingham County are dealing with similar situations.
On July 18, a simple rezoning request from NC Development Holdings raised eyebrows that a casino could be on the horizon. The registered address of NC Development Holdings is the same as Baltimore-based casino developer The Cordish Cos.
Speaking before the Rockingham County Planning Board, the company’s lawyers said the applicant doesn’t have to disclose what it hopes to build under state law.
Who should decide?
Commissioner Marvin Arrington was the single vote against the referendum, who said the decision should rest with voters in Rocky Mount (where the casino would be located), not the county.
Arrington pointed out that voters were not consulted on other issues like the recent re-districting of the school board.
Although he supported the referendum vote, Commissioner Fred Belfield said he was not opposed to a casino. Belfield said in an article by Rocky Mount Telegram: “I do believe in hearing from the people. I’m not opposed to a casino being located in Nash County.”
A recent gambling research study estimated that three NC commercial casinos could bring in roughly $1.6 billion in new revenue.