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Update March 10: The governor has made it clear she opposes the casino, greatly diminishing the chances for the casino to be built.
Update March 6: Various factions continue to align themselves, most recently with a Hilton Head Island-based Republican group coming out in opposition of the casino and resort.
The stated concern is that a casino in Jasper County could damage the "family friendly" tourism reputation on Hilton Head Island.
If that opinion carries across Republican lines it could be bad news for the developer's who need Gov. Nikki Haley's approval.
Update March 4: A pair of informational updates on the proposed project by way of Bluffton Today.
One article notes support for the project is there but is still absent Gov. Nikki Haley and a second article, an editorial, raises questions if area governments are ready to invest the needed infrastructure to support such a project.
Update March 1: A rendering of the proposed casino and hotel has been released.
Update February 13: The Island Packet is still hot on the trail and has followed up for specifics on the promised 2,250 local jobs; read their report here.
Update February 9: The idea continues to move forward and The Island Packet has followed up, painting a more complete picture of the challenges that await the would-be Indian casino and hotel; read that update here.
For my 2 cents, I say wait for the governor to see the idea float amongst the electorate and fall on the populous side: Is it a job-making deal or an egregious sin tax?
- Update by Ken Hawkins
First reporting: A proposal for a casino in Jasper County's Hardeeville could bring legal gambling to South Carolina.
The entertainment complex would be located off of Highway 278 in Hilton Head Lakes. And the proposal is getting quite a few mixed reactions.
Hardeeville City Council members support the idea, having signed a resolution to take the next step in the process. Why do they love it? It would generate millions of dollars in salaries--about $100 million to be precise. Approximately 2,200 jobs would be created with the opening of the casino. Local business owners see another benefit of the entertainment complex: those patrons who go to the casino may also visit other local companies, increasing business and profit.
But not everyone is in love with the idea of making our state one in which you can legally gamble. Some residents believe that having a casino in the area will attract crime, while others argue that the consistent presence of police would ward off any troublemakers.
And others have mixed feelings about the proposal. For example, Jasper County Council Chairman, Rev. Samuel Gregory, said, "I'm hoping everybody doesn't go to gamble but everybody goes to seek a job." Jim Wescott, executive director of the Lowcountry & Resort Islands Tourism Commission, said that he's experiencing some complicated emotions about the proposal: "When I first heard the news, I thought, 'Great!' This could bring millions of dollars to an area that badly needs it. But then I developed mixed feelings. The businesses that tend to grow up around casinos aren't always wholesome, and the clientele aren't necessarily always welcome."
Governor Nikki Haley also had a mixed reaction to the proposed casino: "What I know is right now we don't allow gambling in the state, so I'm not going to say let's go out and do this. I understand locally they're talking about this and they're getting some things done, but that's a big deal to ask for an exception for a state law. That's not something I'm going to take lightly or answer quickly.”
The project is still being planned, but we'll keep you updated when we hear new news.
In the meantime, get some more details about the casino over at WTOC here and here. Read more about Gov. Haley's reaction over at WSAV, and get more info on what local civic leaders think over at The Island Packet.