COLUMBIA – South Carolinians appear deadlocked on whether the state should allow gambling casinos to operate in the state,an issue close to the hearts of Hardeeville leaders.
In recent years, Jasper County advocates had sought to reverse the governor’s opposition to a proposal to open a casino inthe city, but were unsuccessful.
Results of a Winthrop Poll released Wednesday showed those favoring and opposing gambling casinos in South Carolina each registered47.3 percent. Nearly 5 percent were unsure.
When asked if they favor or oppose permitting a limited number of gambling casinos to operate in South Carolina, if they couldonly be located in or near Myrtle Beach, nearly 64 percent came out opposed to the idea.
Far fewer opposed the idea of Myrtle Beach area casinos if the revenue was designated for roads and other infrastructure needs:about 49 percent.
“Attitudes on this issue are fluid depending on specific proposals,” said Scott Huffmon, director of the Winthrop Poll andprofessor of political science.
“This makes it hard to pinpoint deeply held feelings with certainty.”
The Winthrop Poll callers surveyed 1,082 likely voters in South Carolina by landline and cell phones between Sept. 21-28.?In2012, a four-star casino-resort proposal for Hilton Head Lakes received unanimous support from Jasper County and Hardeevilleleaders. The development was projected to employ 4,700.
It was put forward by the partnership of SB Investment of Myrtle Beach, Stratford Land of Dallas, and the United KeetoowahBand of Cherokee.
But Gov. Nikki Haley would need to OK casinos in the state, and said she would not do so. Since then talks cooled in Hardeeville.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bronco Bostick said the project has been on hold, and that he had not heard from the developers in atleast six months.
This year Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, proposed a plan in which badly needed roadway funding could be generated by allowingcasinos to operate in Myrtle Beach.