Gaming out at Casino Royale

By Andy Winemiller -

In the fifth year of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History’s Casino Royale fundraisers, museum staff and supporters have been forced to do away with the gaming aspect of the annual event.

According to museum executive director Matt Edwards, the fundraiser’s activities came to the attention of N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) when the department received a tip from somebody who had read about the upcoming event in the newspaper.

Edwards got a call from an agent in the department. He said once the event “was on their radar” ALE officials had the “responsibility to look into the event.”

The ALE agent who called noted concerns regarding the event’s draw-down and the gaming which had served as the night’s entertainment, said Edwards. He also recommended that museum staff contact the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Commission’s legal counsel.

“It turns out the legislation regarding this is pretty broadly written, and the ABC broadly interprets it,” explained Edwards.

As a result of the situation, Edwards noted Saturday’s draw-down, which offers a $6,000 cash prize, must occur in a room separate from any in which alcohol is served. Attendees will be allowed to venture into the draw-down room at Cross Creek Country Club provided they leave their drink behind.

The bigger major change comes to the event’s entertainment. Edwards explained the crux of the legal issue, as he understands it, is the gaming tables and equipment themselves are illegal to possess in North Carolina.

After exploring options, the gaming aspect has been nixed and replaced by a live band.

“We have a pretty good party band coming to provide entertainment,” said Edwards in explaining the band Risse will fill the void left by the loss of the gaming portion of the evening.

Edwards said many events involving the sort of gaming Casino Royale offered will continue to take place in the state. There’s a market in it for non-profits looking to raise money, and whether they are allowed to operate such events simply comes down to whether anybody calls ALE officials to report the offending party.

“This was kind of a big surprise to us,” said Edwards. “It has never been an issue in the past. Maybe our legislators can look at this as something proactive they can do in the future.”

It’s a big change, but Edwards said Saturday can still be a night filled with big fun for those who attend. An open bar, a social hour and a silent auction begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. The band will begin to play at about 8 p.m., and all activities should wrap up around 11 p.m.

A draw-down ticket is $100, and those who purchase one can opt to pay $50 per person or $100 per couple to attend the event. Attendance-only tickets are also available for $65 per person.

Tickets may be purchased at the museum or from any museum board member. Fore more information contact museum staff at 786-4478.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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