Contact the Governor’s Office and Express your Opposition
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
August 20, 2013
“We don’t need an out-of-state tribe coming into North Carolina and opening a casino” — short, to the point and right on target were the words of Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Buncombe) when the media asked about the Catawba Indian Nation’s attempt to work a deal with Cleveland County and the Governor’s Office to open a gambling complex.
“We couldn’t agree more,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “This is the last thing our state needs, and we’re encouraged to hear some lawmakers already speaking out against it.”
House Majority Leader Paul Stam (Wake) said he would do everything he could to defeat the plan for a casino off I-85, a location that he fears would generate “10 times as much gambling” as Harrah’s Casino in mountainous and more isolated Cherokee country.
Nonetheless Cleveland County officials have met with Gov. Pat McCrory’s economic advisers to talk about developing a casino and hotel complex south of Kings Mountain. State commerce officials report they have been asked only to gather information and haven’t taken a position on the plan.
Before a casino could open, the governor would have to enter into a compact with the tribe, something he can legally do without legislative approval, at least at this point. Some lawmakers have said they would consider revoking the governor’s ability to represent the state in such an agreement if it appears he would strike a deal with the Catawbas. Former Gov. Bev Perdue involved the Legislature in a 2012 expansion of gaming at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ casino in the state’s western corner because the move to allow Las Vegas style table games with live dealers required changes in North Carolina law.
“This is one more reason lawmakers never should have expanded gambling at Harrah’s,” said Dr. Creech. “The more games, the more attractive the state becomes to the gambling industry, which quite frankly uses and abuses Native American tribes and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for its own profits. With the push for more gambling locations comes a demand for bigger pay-outs, and always more, more and more gambling. Ultimately, it’s more and more lives that are wrecked by gambling.”
The only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, the Catawba Nation includes some 2,800 members, with tribal lands along the Catawba River in York County. Not a recognized tribe in the Tar Heel State, as of late last week the Catawbas did not even own land in North Carolina. However, the media reported that property off Dixon School Road, including a 45-acre parcel owned by Roadside Truck Plaza, is likely being considered for purchase.
The tribe has already been pushing for a casino on its 700-acre reservation in South Carolina with a case now pending before the Palmetto State’s Supreme Court. It is also poised to reopen a high-stakes bingo hall in Rock Hill. Its reported attempts to lure in economic officials across the North Carolina border include promises of some 3,500 jobs within a five-year period, no doubt a head-turner in Cleveland County where unemployment remained over 10 percent in June.
Although the tribe did not, at first, confirm reports that it is seeking a casino north of the border, newspaper articles show the Catawbas likely eyed Gaston, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties before targeting Cleveland. Gaston tourism officials told the Gaston Gazette that the plan they heard about in early April and wished they had been chosen for involved a $350 million project including a 750-room hotel, some two dozen retail shops and eight to 10 restaurants.
“Lean economic times make the spread of gambling more tempting than ever as cities and counties are desperate for development to expand their tax base and provide jobs, but casinos are not the answer,” said Dr. Creech. “Not only do they take revenue from other legitimate businesses, but they also create high costs for government entities like law enforcement agencies.”
In fact, according to John Warren Kindt, professor emeritus of Business Administration at the University of Illinois, for every dollar legalized gambling contributes in taxes, taxpayers pay three dollars.
“That’s no way to grow an economy,” said Dr. Creech. “We urge Cleveland County, the Governor, and the N.C. General Assembly to bid the Catawba Nation a polite ‘No, thank you’ and put an end to talks of a new casino.”
Take Christian Action:
Contact the office of Gov. Pat McCrory and politely ask that the Governor oppose the further expansion of Casino Gambling in the Tar Heel state. To reach the office of the Governor call, 919.814.2000.