We would describe the results of our recent October casino poll as having more votes cast in it than in a typical Halifax County municipal election — 1,674 in favor, 381 against and 43 undecided — nearly 4.5 times more people favoring a casino in the Carolina Crossroads Entertainment District than those who oppose it.
Voting is now closed as we have pulled our poll from the website as we planned after the last day of October.
With it now established that the casino issue will again be brought up by legislators in their short session beginning April 24, there is much work to do on the local level to lobby lawmakers to choose Roanoke Rapids as a location.
As we have previously editorialized, we believe Carolina Crossroads is the perfect place for this private investment project — adequate land, all the required infrastructure, a renewed interest in the former Roanoke Rapids Theatre after its sale, and an interstate from which it is visible from both travel lanes.
All the land uses are in place at Carolina Crossroads that would allow other things beyond casinos — hotels, waterparks, restaurants and similar attractions — with more than 7,000 feet of road frontage along the interstate and more than 350 acres of developable land.
We believe this matter is not so much about people being able to do with their money what they please, but the catalyst it could provide to bring more economic development here. Sure, that will possibly include more eating, retail and commercial establishments but with an economic vibrancy that hasn’t been seen here since the textiles mills closed we can’t discount that at least one or two industries may see the area in a more favorable light since leaders decided to take this step to help the area improve.
What has been in discussion by state lawmakers is not a fly-by-night proposal in which someone sets up fishing tables or sweepstakes cafes in a strip mall, but people making a required $500 million investment for a stand alone casino and hotel.
This is private investment that requires no local government matching funds that has typically been the case in past economic development projects.
Before Halifax County commissioners deadlocked on a resolution supporting the efforts of Roanoke Rapids to land a casino in Carolina Crossroads — after they initially rejected the proposal — they were told the taxes that would be generated to Halifax County are $3.8 million a year and for Roanoke Rapids $3.3 million a year.
Excise taxes based on gross casino revenue would generate $3,375,000 a year in Halifax County.
The casino would represent $57 million in new payroll revenues a year which would generate new retail sales for the county and communities.
That would benefit Halifax County to the tune of $8.4 million a year, Roanoke Rapids $2.3 million a year and other entities, which would include municipalities over $600,000 a year.
Several boards and commissions which have influence in economic development matters in Halifax County have already endorsed the concept of a Carolina Crossroads casino — factors that should not be not be ignored by state lawmakers when the issue is revisited in the short session.
And we would humbly ask that they also take a look at our poll results — one that has had more votes than you would typically see in a Halifax County municipal election — Editor