The folks in western Rockingham County are all fired up in opposition to the plans to build a casino on US 220 next to Camp Carefree, but in neighboring Guilford County it’s relatively quiet.
While casinos are currently illegal in North Carolina, the state legislature is reportedly poised to change that, most likely this month. The 192-acre site is up for rezoning to Highway Commercial, a zoning district that allows “electronic gaming operations,” and the request for the rezoning is being made by an LLC associated with The Cordish Companies, which operates casinos.
The word from those who claim to have the inside information from Raleigh is that all of the pieces are falling into place for this Rockingham County site to house a large casino complex in the near future.
While the site is in Rockingham County, as the crow flies it’s about four miles from the Guilford County line and Stokesdale. Summerfield is less than five miles from the proposed site and it’s about eight miles from the NC 150 and NC 68 intersection in Oak Ridge.
The site is only about 10 miles from the Greensboro city limits.
While a casino in rural Rockingham County will be a drastic change for that agricultural area, it’s also going to bring major changes just a few miles south to Summerfield, Stokesdale and Guilford County.
A casino being built just north of the Guilford County line in Rockingham County is not being built with the intention of serving the people of Rockingham County. The closest major population center is Greensboro, which has over three times the population of all of Rockingham County. Guilford County is nearly six times larger in population than its neighboring county to the north.
The major factor driving the push for casinos in the legislature is the tax revenue that they will provide for the for the state. Counties where the casinos will be located, like Rockingham, are considered economically disadvantaged, and will also benefit from increased tax revenue. But what’s the benefit to adjacent jurisdictions like Guilford County and Greensboro?
Those who oppose casinos have vast statistics about the prostitution, drugs and overall increase in crime they bring to an area. While no bill has been introduced to legalize casino gambling in the state, from what is known it appears Guilford County and Greensboro would receive a big share of all of the problems associated with casino gambling, but not a share of the revenue.