Please act below to help NC Family stand against the expansion of gambling casinos in our state.
A sizzling new report from WRAL released just yesterday reveals how far “talks” about legalizing commercial gambling casinos in North Carolina have progressed. In fact, the article states, “A holding company connected to a casino developer is seeking to rezone nearly 200 acres in Rockingham County, home to one of the state’s most powerful legislators, as lawmakers quietly weigh whether to authorize multiple new casinos across the state.”
The holding company is NC Development Holdings, an entity that is connected to Baltimore-based casino developer The Cordish Companies, which bills itself as “a leader in gaming development & operations.” So far this year, these two organizations have registered at least eight different lobbyists in North Carolina, including a former chairman of the N.C. Republican Party and a former N.C. Secretary of Commerce.
The powerful legislator is State Senator Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), who is serving in his seventh term as President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate. The fact is, there are few members of the General Assembly who will be more influential in the outcome of this issue than Senator Berger. Just last week, Senator Berger commented that the chances of the General Assembly approving casinos, and possibly even video lottery terminals, was “better than 50-50.” This comes just a month after the State Legislature approved sports gambling and parimutuel wagering on horse racing.
Rumors have been circulating for months that legislative leaders are considering the authorization of as many as four commercial gambling casinos across North Carolina, although no formal proposals have been made public. According to WRAL, “Even high-ranking members of the General Assembly’s Republican majority say they’re in the dark about the details, and lobbyists tracking the casino issue for other gambling clients say only a few people seem to be privy to the conversations.”
These commercial casinos would be in addition to three tribal casinos already located in the state – one in Kings Mountain operated by the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation, and two in western North Carolina operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. These tribal casinos are authorized by federal law.
Casinos are particularly harmful because they are specifically and strategically designed to exploit people and entice them to gamble for as long as possible. Often, casino developments include hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and retail shops to keep patrons inside, spending their time and money. This diverts dollars away from local consumer goods and services and siphons money out of the local economy.
Moreover, decades of research clearly shows that the more forms of gambling that are legalized and advertised, the more citizens will gamble. Of those who do, a significant percentage will develop pathological or problem gambling issues. Gambling addiction manifests itself in increases in crime, domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, job loss, personal bankruptcy, substance abuse, and even suicide. These harms not only impact the gamblers themselves, but also their families, friends, employers, and community.