While opponents to building a massive casino complex on US 220 in Rockingham County suffered a major set back on Monday, Aug. 21, the battle is far from over.

On Monday, Aug. 21, the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to rezone the 192-acre parcel along US 220 just north of the Guilford County line to Highway Commercial, a zoning district that would allow casinos.

But under North Carolina law, gambling casinos are not allowed except for the three Indian gaming casinos on tribal land.

For a casino to become a reality in Rockingham County, the North Carolina legislature has to pass legislation that would legalize gambling casinos.  No such bill has been introduced in either house of the North Carolina General Assembly.

However, it is widely thought that legislation legalizing casino gambling in three counties – Rockingham, Anson and Nash – will be included in the state budget bill.

The Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both the state House and state Senate – but only by one vote. That means for the Republicans to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, all the Republicans in the state House and Senate have to vote in favor of the override.

Placing legislation to legalize casino gambling in the budget bill would give Republican legislators some “cover” in voting in favor of the bill, which means they could say they weren’t in favor of legalizing casino gambling but the overall budget bill was so good they couldn’t vote against it.

But placing the legislation in the budget bill also means that one Republican representative or senator could prevent the Republicans from overriding the governor’s veto, if Cooper does in fact veto the budget.

It’s complicated. Once the legislature passes a budget and sends it to the governor, Cooper has three choices. He can sign the bill into law.  He can veto the bill and send it back to the legislature, where a vote of 60 percent in the House and in the Senate is needed to override the veto. Or Cooper can do nothing and, after 10 days, the budget would become law without his signature.

So there are still a lot of pieces of the puzzle that have to fall into place before building a casino in Rockingham County is possible.