Council approves electronic gaming ordinance

The Henderson City Council voted unanimously to approve an electronic gaming ordinance which will strictly regulate the location and conduct of games such as “on-line sweepstakes” in the city of Henderson.

The ordinance comes in advance of any action that may come from the North Carolina State Assembly which has discussed such games during the current session.

The ordinance was passed two days before the expiration of a moratorium on new electronic gaming locations within Henderson.

According to City Attorney John Zollicoffer, electronic gaming facilities will be permitted in the B2, B2A, and B4 zones of the city only. They will not be permitted within 750 feet of other gaming operations, schools, day care facilities, churches, or residences.

No check cashing or loan operations will be permitted within gaming locations. The facilities also may not be within 50 feet of a room where on-premises alcohol is sold. The facilities may not operate between 12:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., cannot have more than 35 machines, must have video surveillance, a security officer at all times, and no one under the age of 21 may receive a prize.

The gaming facilities must also have a large, plate glass window through which the gaming machines may be observed from the outside.

Member Garry Daeke asked who would note if a facility did not have the large, plate glass window or obscured it. Zollicoffer responded that anyone could note it, and that the zoning permit could consequently be revoked.

During a public hearing on the ordinance, no member of public spoke for or against the zoning change.

After the ordinance was introduced by member Mike Inscoe and seconded by member Mike Rainey, it passed unanimously. Neither member Sara Coffey nor member Mary Emma Evans were present for the vote. It was noted at the beginning of the meeting by City Manager Ray Griffin that Coffey had been admitted to the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Durham. The reason for her admission was not stated.

Evans arrived at the meeting at 7:02, right before the council went into closed sessions for an economic development matter and a personnel matter.