Possible Casino Sites Lead NC in Underwater Mortgages

Strong opposition to North Carolina casinos has come from the three counties proposed to house a casino–Anson, Nash, and Rockingham. Interestingly, two of the counties rank among the highest in the state for underwater mortgages.

Residents in Rockingham and Nash, two of the proposed counties for casinos, are among the state’s highest percentage of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than the market value of their houses, creating negative equity.

The main concept behind building North Carolina casinos in Rockingham, Nash, and Anson counties is to develop entertainment districts to boost the economy. Prosperous casino districts would also increase residential property values, helping those with negative equity recover financially.

Rocky Mount leads state in underwater mortgages

Rocky Mount, located 45 miles east of Raleigh, has a population of 54,341 and is split over Nash and Edgecombe counties and six ZIP codes. Using information from real estate data firm Attom, Axios reported that Rocky Mount’s 27801 ZIP code has a 10.9% rate of homes with negative equity, the highest in North Carolina.

The state average is 2.3%. Rocky Mount’s 27803 has a 5% rate.

Residents in the home county of Senate President Pro Tempore and key casino proponent Ken Berger were the most vocal opponents of casino expansion this past year. They showed up in droves at Rockingham County Board of Commissioner meetings to oppose plans to rezone land for commercial purposes, including a casino entertainment district.

Locals voiced their dissent when the commission unanimously voted to approve a rezoning request for land that could be the site of a casino entertainment district. They expressed their anger at the ballot box and voted out the commission chair during elections this past March.

Some parts of Rockingham County have higher-than-average rates of underwater mortgages. The 27357 in Stokesdale has a 3.9% rate. The 27320 in Reidsville has a 3.4% rate.

Success in Danville provides a model

Across the border in Virginia, Caesars opened a temporary casino in Danville a year ago. Since then, housing prices in the area have risen significantly.

Caesars Virginia expects to open its permanent casino in Danville by the end of the year. It also expects to add more than 1,000 employees.

It remains to be seen if lawmakers can successfully build commercial casinos in North Carolina. The makeup of the General Assembly will be a major factor, as all 170 seats in the body are up for re-election in November.

And those opposing a casino in their city should look more closely at the positive results that could come from expanded gaming.

About the Author

Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fan and founded the website Hoopfeed.com as a result of that passion. She loves writing about sports on all levels and has previous experience covering sports betting regulations, operator marketing campaigns and women's sports gambling topics.