On Jan. 31, 2012, residents of Gadsden County will get their say on whether or not to allow slot machines, as a result of a unanimous decision made on Nov.1 at a county commissioner’s meeting.
Gadsden County commissioner chambers reached capacity as residents piled in to voice their concerns about this year’s hot topic, Creek Entertainment Gretna.
Commissioners voted for a referendum giving residents the opportunity to vote on the authorization of up to 2,000 slot machines to operate at the Creek Entertainment pari-mutuel facility.
The facility has been in construction since January. Once completed, it will offer horseracing and gaming recreational activities alongside the Interstate 10 exit at State Road 12 in Gretna, Fla.
Plans to have barrel racing are expected to be in operation by December.
Reginald Cutler, a Gretna resident, is against the building of the Creek Entertainment facility.
“It will cause an increase in crime rate and unhealthy gambling habits,” said the 43-year-old.
This, however, was not the tone at the commissioner meeting.
Residents wearing lime green t-shirts held signs reading, “It’s our time for jobs” outside of the Gadsden County Courthouse two hours before Tuesday night’s commissioner meeting, as a show of their approval.
If approved, $100 million could be made in revenue for owners and employ hundreds in Gadsden County, which holds one of the lowest poverty lines in the state of Florida and highest unemployment rate.
The casino is also expected to create 150 full-time jobs by December 2011.
Residents were given the opportunity to voice the their opposition or support for the facility at the meeting.
Poarch Creek Indians Gaming CEO Jay Dorris promised phenomenal growth with a five-year path to a resort casino featuring hotels, a world-class equestrian center, simulcast horse races, restaurants and quarter horse racing in a memo addressed to county commissioners.
“Residents should have the opportunity to take advantage of such growth and define itself as a gateway to the region, becoming a leader among small rural counties in meeting the demand for entertainment amenities and recreational opportunities in the area,” Dorris told the crowd.