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Proposed casino draws mixed reactions

Published: Jan. 18, 2012 at 11:34 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2012 at 1:49 AM EST
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HARDEEVILLE, SC (WTOC) - There's a lot going on down U.S. Hwy. 278, including the development of Hilton Head Lakes Hardeeville. It doesn't stop there. There are also plans to build an entertainment resort, which is expected to welcome 4.3 million visitors annually.

Jasper County Council Chairman Rev. Samuel Gregory said, "I'm a Christian and I believe what the writer says, but I'm hoping everybody doesn't go to gamble but everybody goes to seek a job. I'm supporting it because of the fact that it's going to bring traffic into Jasper County and it's going to bring jobs and businesses."

The proposed entertainment resort will include a casino, consisting of nearly 3,500 gambling options (2,800 to 3,000 machines and 30 to 40 table games). It's will also have 400 full service, 4-diamond quality hotel rooms, an existing 18-hole championship golf course, and an events center with seating for up to 2,000.

Although the exact location hasn't been determined, the proposed entertainment resort would be situated just three miles from Interstate 95 along Hwy. 278. It's expected to create more than 2,200 direct jobs, but some feel it's a gamble not worth taking.

Bluffton resident Cathy Phagan said, "I think it's a bad idea because it will attract the criminal element to the area. It's bad enough around here any way."

But Ralph Schulze said, "The police have a pretty good presence around here. You almost always see a police car parked at the Quik Stop next door."

Schulze is manager of a nearby Dunkin' Donuts and welcomes the proposed development.

"If there's a crowd up the street I'm sure some of that business will rub off on us. They're going to need their coffee and donuts to have the energy to keep playing," he said.

The project is still in the planning phase. There is no word on when a decision will be made.

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