Yesterday, a group of concerned citizens and organizations held a press conference at the Legislative Building in Raleigh to express concerns about proposed casinos that could come to Rockingham, Nash, and Anson counties if a proposal being considered by the North Carolina General Assembly is approved. Speakers included NC Family President John Rustin, Reverend Mark Creech, Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page, and residents of Rockingham and Nash counties. Each individual spoke about the harm that casinos would bring to their communities and challenged legislators to oppose the legalization of commercial gambling casinos in North Carolina. You can watch the full press conference on WRAL.com here.
“The true cost of this policy will be paid by the most vulnerable among us,” Doug Isley, a resident of Rockingham County, shared at the event, “Beyond the human impact, the social cost of gambling from increased crime and the burdens on the health care system to increase welfare and other entitlement costs as described in numerous studies over the years could easily outweigh the savings to the taxpayers.”
Joni Robbins, a mom from Nash County, added to this, saying, “I am not a politician, but I am here because this is not about politics. This is about people. This is about the next generation. Our kids today have enough bad things on their doorstep. . . don’t mess with our kids. If you mess with our kids, we will vote you out.” She ends by saying, “I just want you to know we don’t want it.”
Several speakers mentioned that the reason they chose to live in one of these counties is because they wanted the quieter lifestyle that would be severely impacted if a casino came next door. In addition, casinos cannibalize the local economy and siphon money away from local businesses and personal investments. A national report entitled “Why Casinos Matter” states, “Evidence from the health and social sciences suggests that the new American casinos are associated with a range of negative health, economic, political, intellectual, and social outcomes.”
In 2023, North Carolina experienced a $3.25 billion state budget surplus. The biggest stated reason for pursuing additional casino gambling is the potential for revenue, but clearly, North Carolina is already thriving. There is no need to legalize something that has been proven to be as harmful as gambling just to increase revenue.