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Randleman eyes moratorium on electronic gaming

RANDLEMAN — At its April 2 meeting, the Randleman Board of Aldermen voted to put a moratorium on accepting any more applications for electronic gaming businesses for the next 120 days.

The decision came about as a result of concerns raised by local residents regarding the activities outside 336 Skill Zone, 807 A High Point St., in Randleman. 

Shain Sexton, Randleman police chief and city manager, told the board his office has heard complaints concerning the 24-hour operation and the discovery of drug paraphernalia in the parking lot where the business is located.

Citizens have also expressed concerns about having an electronic gaming venue in such close proximity to a school. Randleman Middle School is directly across the street from the business.

In an interview Bob Wilhoit, Randleman city attorney, stressed that no criminal charges have been filed against Skill Zone. The activities reported by citizens are in regard to activities outside the business. He added that the city is not trying to outlaw electronic gaming operations entirely inside city limits.

“That will be up to the NC Supreme Court to regulate,” he said.

Wilhoit said the city sees this as an opportunity to update its ordinances. While Randleman has ordinances regarding game rooms, they were written prior to the advent and popularity of modern electronic gaming businesses.

Wilhoit advised the board to have its planning department review current city ordinances and make recommendations on proper locations for such operations, hours of operation and possible restrictions on minors accessing such operations.

Wilhoit said the city is well within its rights to restrict where these businesses can be located. He said the board might consider limiting proximity to churches, schools, playgrounds and residential areas.

Moving forward, Wilhoit said after the planning board comes up with its recommendations, these will be presented to the aldermen for review at a regular board meeting. The board will decide at that time whether to accept any or all of the recommendations and set a date at which such zoning regulations would go into effect.

Regardless, Wilhoit said, any electronic gaming business currently in operation will be grandfathered in under the new ordinances.