A request for an electronic gaming establishment next to Roses was denied earlier this week, with City Council finding the request passed just three of four required standards.
A conditional use request by Sawan Reom to operate an electronic gaming establishment at 407 Southeast Blvd. in a HC-Highway Commercial district came before Council last month, but was tabled to Tuesday’s meeting. It was a matter previously heard by the Planning and Zoning Board, which recommended the request for approval in a 3-2 vote during its July 21 meeting.
Reom proposed to use an existing 2,800 square foot unit in the Roses shopping center. According to the Clinton Land Development Ordinance, there are a number of minimum requirements which the gaming operations must meet, encompassing hours of operation, maximum number of terminals or computers, parking and setbacks from other gaming establishments, churches and schools.
Along with those minimum requirements, the Council had to find that the request meets the four requirements for conditional use, including that the development: will not materially endanger the public health or safety; will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property; will be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located; and will be in general conformity with the Land Development Ordinance, thoroughfare plan or other plan officially adopted by the Council.
The Council unanimously voted that the request passed three of the standards, but also voted unanimously that it did not pass a fourth — finding that the establishment could injure adjoining property values.
There are some residences located across Warsaw Road from the proposed location, and Reom’s initial request did have to be modified, moving an address over within the Roses Shopping Center to be outside of the 1,000-foot minimum setback from a church on U.S. 701 Business.
Electronic gaming has been a cloudy issue throughout the state, with a vast gray area around the matter.
State law makes it illegal to conduct a sweepstakes through the use of an “entertaining display” to reveal a prize. But some, including a sweepstakes owner in Duplin, have argued pre-reveal software did not use such a display to conduct the sweepstakes — and the court ruled in their favor.
In Clinton, there are five sweepstakes venues currently on the books that bring in approximately half of the city’s $140,000 in business privilege license revenues annually. There are a total of 66 machines at the five local gaming establishments, with 57 of those machines at two different sites. Businesses are currently taxed at $1,000 per machine.
The machines have proven to be big revenue generators for municipalities, which set the taxes on them, while also making good money for those who run the businesses.
Reom said he was pursuing the sweepstakes establishment for that reason.
Reom previously told Council that he had an existing sweepstakes business in Hoke County and wanted to move it to Clinton, where he could make and save enough money to eventually open a salon in Roseboro.
Reom did not offer any further comments during Tuesday’s regular Council meeting.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.