Under the Dome

Goodwin also opposes Catawba casino

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is adding his name to the list of prominent North Carolina officials opposed to a Catawba tribal casino.

The Democrat wrote to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs this week to ask them to deny the South Carolina-based tribe’s application to put 16 acres near Kings Mountain into federal trust as reservation lands eligible for gambling.

Goodwin is concerned about the issue of state sovereignty by allowing the tribe’s settlement with South Carolina to apply in North Carolina. He is also worried about the precedent it would set. “It would appear that if the Catawba Tribe were to prevail then ANY federally recognized Indian Tribes not presently in North Carolina could seek the same recourse with non-reservation land and thereby establish casinos,” he wrote, later calling it a “slippery slope.”

His arguments – expressed as a member of the Council of State, he wrote – echo those from Gov. Pat McCrory, Attorney General Roy Cooper and more than 100 state lawmakers in recent months since the News & Observer broke the news of the tribe’s plans. But local officials are touting the project as a major economic development opportunity for an economically beleaguered area.