Casino Developers “Tricked” a Nash County Landowner As North Carolina’s Leaders Disagree on Gaming

North Carolina has been deliberating on accepting three casino proposals. It was supposed to add them to its budget, but the Senate turned down the proposal last week.

Gaming operators like Cordish Companies, Phil Berger (Senate leader), and Tim Moore (Republican House leader) supported the gaming bill. The recent turn of events disappointed them.

The gaming projects would have cost at least $500 million. But dramas are common in community board meetings.

A Nash County landowner, Kent Dozier, is an 80-year tycoon who signed an option for his 32 acres of land to a Shell Company that is linked to Cordish Companies. He opposes casinos due to religious and personal beliefs. Yet, the transaction’s lack of transparency made him feel deceived.

Tony Copeland, a successful attorney, approached Dozier, stating that the land would be used to create 80 percent of white-collar jobs. North Carolina’s records indicate that he is a lobbyist who is linked to Cordish Companies. Dozier informed The News & Observer that he has lived on that land for five decades, and his great-grandfather built that house.

The Leaders’ Gaming Push

Moore and Berger have been advocating for casino development for a long period. They aspired to construct three Las Vegas-style gaming resorts in the state’s disadvantaged counties to promote the state’s economy. Besides, it will enable them to compete fairly with casinos in neighboring states like Virginia.

Dozier owns the Rocky Mount Land near Interstate 95, thus making it a perfect place for a gaming property to attract clients. The two state leaders claimed that residents often travel to other states’ operators like Caesars Danville.

Even so, other leaders and residents are concerned about gambling’s social implications. Several residents protested last week at the North Carolina building.

Neighborhood’s Well Being Is a Priority

Moore sent a letter to House Republicans stating that 61 Republicans wouldn’t support gaming if the state added it in its budget. Cordish Companies have a one-year option on Dozier’s land purchase. He stated that he has never gambled and their neighborhood deserves better economic activities than gambling.

State leaders claim that the communities will miss up to $1.7 billion annually from the three operators. Another casino campaign might have to wait up to mid-2024.

More About the State Budget

Moore lacked sufficient votes last week to add gaming on the state’s $30 billion budget bill. Lawmakers who are seeking a consensus on the budget bill are frustrating Governor Roy Cooper (D).

Berger hoped that Anson, Nash, and Rockingham counties would legalize commercial gaming sites soon after North Carolina allowed sports gambling in June. He blamed Moore for not mobilizing the House to support the gaming component.

Even so, Moore’s support on the component in the state’s budget and if the House voted for it, there wouldn’t be a guarantee that the Governor would sign it. Instead, he stated that gaming ought to be excluded from the budget.

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