Rockingham County Commissioners are expected to hold a public hearing and vote on a rezoning request for a proposed casino today at 6:30 pm inside the Commissioners Chambers in Wentworth. The zoning decision is the first official step toward the proposed casino that would be established just north of Summerfield in Rockingham County near the Guilford County line.
North Carolina lawmakers are still working on a bill to authorize four “entertainment districts” with casinos. Nash, Rockingham, and Anson would be the potential host counties for three of the proposed entertainment districts. The fourth entertainment facility would open in southeastern North Carolina and be operated by the Lumbee Tribe. According to a poll, nearly half of North Carolina residents support the proposed casino expansion. The entertainment districts would feature not only casinos but also restaurants, hotels, and office space.
Rockingham residents who support the idea of hosting a casino say that the gaming facility would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and create hundreds of jobs. The turnout at previous public meetings regarding the casino proposal was huge, with standing room only. Many more people are expected to attend the meeting this evening and share their thoughts on the proposed casino expansion.
According to Senate President Phil Berger, state lawmakers should authorize the establishment of the four proposed entertainment districts in order to compete with other states that offer various gambling opportunities. He noted that many locals travel to neighboring states to gamble, which means money flows through North Carolina’s borders. Actually, it was Berger who has been spearheading the efforts to bring a casino to Rockingham County.
Rockingham Officials Must Carefully Examine the Possible Effects of Having a Casino in the Community Before Approving the Proposal
But despite the numerous advantages of having a casino in the area, some Rockingham residents opposed the casino proposal. Ryan Joyce, Program Director for Camp Carefree, explained that Rockingham could lose its pond if the proposed casino gets approved. One resident told reporters from WFMY News2+ that he would move if Rockingham approves the casino project. According to another resident, the matter should be put on a ballot so voters can decide whether or not they want a casino in their community.
The idea of bringing a casino to Rockingham County comes a few months after the grand opening of Danville Caesars Casino in Virginia. The gambling establishment, which is located very close to the proposed gambling venue in Rockingham County, generated over $11 million in revenue in May only. Inspired by the success of Danville Casino, Rockingham County officials decided to pitch the idea of hosting one of the four proposed entertainment districts in North Carolina.
Ken Larking, Danville City Manager, noted that they carefully examined the possible impact of having a casino in the area before allowing voters to decide the future of the proposed gambling establishment. Mr. Larking explained that many people are unaware of the advantages and disadvantages of having a casino in their community and advised Rockingham officials to weigh the pros and cons of hosting a gambling venue before moving forward with the casino proposal.