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North Carolina Casino Plans stir controversy: community uproar and concerns of secrecy

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Amidst the ongoing efforts to legalize commercial casinos in North carolina, a targeted community is rallying against the proposed casino resort, voicing opposition and concerns about transparency!

The controversy surrounding casino

Bockingham County finds itself in the spotlight, being one of three counties designated as potential hosts for a commercial casino. State Senator Phil Berger is spearheading the draft bill, aiming to keep gaming revenue within North Carolina and create over 1,750 new jobs. Berger plans to introduce the statute soon or include it in the upcoming budget bill.

North Carolina Casino Sparks Uproar and Secrecy Fears

However, the community isn’t taking this lightly. At a spirited town hall held at Ellisboro Baptist Church in Madison, Rockingham residents turned out in masses to voice their objections to the casino proposal.

Casinos are monuments honoring the exploitation of the poor,” declared one attendee passionately.

Another emphasized, “We didn’t ask for a casino. We’re asking folks to respect what’s going on in our neighborhood.”

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Adding to the controversy, an LLC linked to Cordish Companies, known for operating Live!-branded casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania, has petitioned the Rockingham County Planning Board to rezone 193 acres of farmland for commercial use. Though Cordish’s plans remain undisclosed, rumors suggest that Berger’s bill might favor only one casino operator for the three casinos, with Cordish potentially being the frontrunner for exclusive development rights.

The situation raises eyebrows due to Cordish’s numerous campaign contributions to Berger and other supportive lawmakers. Questions surrounding transparency and potential favoritism arise, making citizens uneasy about the casino’s arrival.

Former Congressman Mark Walker, a Republican running for the gubernatorial race, echoes the concerns, stating, “What bothers me is the lack of transparency.” He resides in Greensboro, located just south of Rockingham, and is troubled by the unfolding developments.

During the town hall, nearly all 500 attendees expressed opposition to the casino’s presence, except for one local, Stephen James, who identifies as a professional poker player. James highlights the economic benefits seen at Harrah’s tribal casinos in the southwestern part of the state, emphasizing that casinos offer more than just gambling, bringing new entertainment, dining, and lodging options to rural areas.

As the community raises its voice, Cordish’s rezoning request for the Rockingham County farmland is scheduled for a formal vote during the August 21 meeting of the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners. The County Planning Board previously voted 5-2 against the project and recommended the application’s rejection.

One significant concern centers on the farmland’s proximity to Camp Carefree, a cherished summer camp catering to children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. The community fervently expresses its disapproval, emphasizing that they do not wish to become “Las Vegas.

Amidst these developments, there are other parcels of land across Rockingham that Cordish might target. Additionally, Berger’s bill is expected to designate Anson and Nash counties as potential casino hosts, adding further complexity to the situation.

The fervent opposition and mounting concerns underscore the significant challenges ahead for those advocating the establishment of a casino resort in North Carolina’s Bockingham County. As the state debates the potential legalization, the community’s voices and the outcome of the upcoming vote will significantly impact the casino’s fate.

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