North Carolina: Rockingham County residents continue to oppose casino expansion

August 16, 2023
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Some say a new casino could negatively affect local businesses.

North Carolina residents have continued to voice their opposition towards casino expansion, according to a Spectrum News 1 local report. State legislators have recently discussed bringing new casinos to three counties throughout North Carolina.

To date, no bills have been presented to lawmakers.

Two Native American Tribes currently operate North Carolina’s three casinos. Several lawmakers have expressed that casino expansion could mean additional revenue for the state, according to the local report.

However, momentum against seeing a casino in Rockingham County has grown in recent weeks. More than 3,000 Rockingham Country residents have signed an online petition on change.org to block casino development, according to a local news report.

Camp Carefree employee Chis Rodenbough shared his concerns with Spectrum News 1 and said a nearby casino could potentially impact the non-profit property in a negative way.

He commented, “This is not something that's going to be reversible. It's going to be detrimental to this camp and to the community and to the people who live here because gambling doesn't bring out sweetness and light.

“We have different camps each week for seven weeks during the summer. And then we have some additional things like children's hospital for cancer camps. The kids need us. We're providing a service that doesn't just affect locally, you know, it goes all up and down the east coast, kids that come here.”

Senate leader Phil Berger told Spectrum News 1 that he believes more people around the state support casino expansion than those who do not.

He commented, "Some of the folks that have told me they're opposed to it have told me that they're opposed to it because of where it might be, that if it was over in Reidsville, it'd be just fine if it was someplace else in the county, be just fine.

“So I do think the location is animating some of the opposition.”

North Carolina pulled the trigger to legalize gambling within its borders after Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347, a sports betting and horseracing bill, into law inside the Charlotte Spectrum Center.

The new law will take effect next year and states, "sports wagering shall not be authorized in the State until a date identified by the [Lottery] Commission, which shall occur as soon as practicable and may be no later than twelve months after the date this act becomes law."

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