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Casino in S.C.?

Posted: January 25, 2012 4:26 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2012 5:00 a.m.

We’d ordinarily favor a proposal that would bring a couple of thousand news jobs to South Carolina as well as a healthy capital investment and the potential to lure more tourists to the Palmetto State. But in the instance of a proposed casino near Hardeeville in the Lowcountry, we have to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” That’s apparently the same reception the idea is getting from Gov. Nikki Haley’s office.

On its face, the project is certainly inviting, promising a 400-room hotel, dining, an events center and access to a golf course. Its annual payroll, say its proponents, would approach $100 million. It would be owned by the United Keetoowa Band of the Cherokee Indian tribe, based in Tahlequah, Okla. Down in Jasper County, where the jobs are certainly needed, it’s been touted by both the Jasper County and Hardeeville councils, both of which have endorsed the proposal and requested state and federal aid in making it a reality.

All the benefits sound attractive, but we just don’t like the idea of casino gambling in South Carolina. And we’ll wager that most residents of the Palmetto State agree with us. Since casinos have proliferated in many areas of the country following the relaxation of gambling laws, the final product hasn’t always produced the nirvana-like benefits promised by developers. There’s a shady underside of life that goes along with the casino business, and it would not have a positive effect on many of the Hilton Head area’s tourist endeavors.

You could certainly line up a cadre of people who would roar acclaim over the prospect of casino gambling and the jobs it would bring with it. We’re not saying there wouldn’t be economic benefits. But the concept isn’t right for this state, and we would hope the governor puts the kibosh on this project.

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