Gambling Market

The potential expansion of the gambling market in North Carolina is garnering attention as Republican leaders of the General Assembly contemplate plans to introduce four new gambling properties in the state. The move could see the establishment of a land-based casino in Rocky Mount, among other locations, as part of an effort to authorize “entertainment districts” with casinos. As the legislative leaders work on the bill, citizens and various stakeholders weigh in on the possible impacts of casino gambling in the state.

The proposed bill aims to authorize four “entertainment districts” with casinos in Nash, Rockingham, and Anson counties and a fourth property operated by the Lumbee tribe in southeastern North Carolina. Each of these properties is expected to offer more than just gambling options; they are planned to include restaurants, hotels, housing, and office space, with the potential to stimulate economic growth and development in their respective areas.

Rocky Mount, in particular, stands as a potential host city for one of these new casinos.

 Mayor Sandy Roberson’s chief of staff, Cary Cox, expressed the city’s interest in participating in the expansion. Cox, however, did not specify the precise location of the potential casino. The possibility of a casino in the area excites officials, as it holds the potential to transform the city and its economy positively.

Robbie Davis, the chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, mentioned the likely location for the casino, citing it to be near the intersection of I-95 and US 64. Nonetheless, Rocky Mount officials have yet to be approached by any casino developer, though they anticipate talks to commence soon.

While the potential for economic growth and job creation comes with the prospect of a casino, local officials are mindful of various concerns associated with such establishments. Robbie Davis, for instance, expressed his openness to discussing these concerns with fellow commissioners before offering further comments. 

He believes that the matter should be decided for residents to vote, similar to the approach taken in Virginia, where voters authorized the construction of four out of five casinos, many of which are located near the North Carolina state line.

New Casino In North Caroline

In North Carolina, approving a new casino hinges on the involvement of local elected officials, such as city councils or boards of county commissioners. However, lawmakers are exploring ways to engage the communities in the conversation to ensure their perspectives and concerns are considered.

Senate leader Phil Berger highlighted the importance of considering local input and elected officials in the approval process. He emphasized that establishing a new casino would depend on the decisions made by local authorities. 

Similarly, House Speaker Tim Moore reported that local governments, including county commissions and other local bodies, have already engaged in discussions with their respective legislators and expressed support for the expansion.

Considering the economic backdrop of the Rocky Mount metro area, where the unemployment rate was reported to be the highest in the state at 4.8% in May, the potential benefits of a new casino could be significant. 

The state’s unemployment rate as a whole during the same period stood at 3.4%. If established, the casino could offer job opportunities, contribute to local tax revenue, and spur economic growth, potentially addressing some of the area’s financial challenges.

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