Rowland wants registration fee for video games

By: Tomeka Sinclair - Staff writer

ROWLAND — Town commissioners had a lively discussion Tuesday on the existing policies regarding “skilled gaming” ordinances.

Town Clerk David Townsend said during the Board of Commissioners meeting that town leaders need to revisit a previously tabled discussion on charging for business registrations. In the past, the town generated revenue by charging a fee for existing video poker machines. The town stopped after the state outlawed the machines.

“The problem is that the state says that these gaming machines are illegal,” Townsend said. “They’re supposed to be enforcing these rules but the states are not doing anything. These businesses are popping up all over the place.”

Commissioners Jean Love and Martin Shooter expressed the opinion that because the state hasn’t enforced the law, the town should be able to charge for the machines. Shooter said the laws should be upheld even if they are calling the games “skilled gaming.”

“I’ve played these games and they don’t require any skill. Everybody knows that,” Shooter said.

Despite Town Attorney Rob Price’s warnings about relevant state ordinances, board members agreed the town should creat a business registration fee.

“I say we put a serial number on every machine and charge a registration fee,” Love said.

Townsend said the town has been providing the businesses with utilities and police protection so the town should receive revenue from them.

“We’re going to adopt a policy where we’re going to start charging for these machines,” Townsend said.

Townsend hopes a new policy will be ready for discussion at the next board meeting.

Board members also discussed the need to revisit committees that have been dormant. Townsend said the board formed a Rowland Historic Preservation Commission three years ago, but the committee members never met.

“They adopted some guidelines, but they just died,” he said.

Town leaders want to get the dormant committees active again and name a Beautification Committee that can apply for grants to fund town developments.

In other business, Townsend:

— Told commissioners that the N.C. Department of Transportation will be celebrating National Tourism Day on May 11 and the town would benefit from having a representative there. More than 1,000 tourism officials are expected to attend the event.

— Said a project to grind storm debris into wood chips is nearly finished.

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Tomeka Sinclair

Staff writer

Tomeka Sinclair can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 910-416-5865

Tomeka Sinclair can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 910-416-5865