Political leaders in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are optimistic following a recent congressional hearing on legislation that would pave the way for the Catawba Indian Nation to open a casino in Cleveland County’s Kings Mountain, an effort that the EBCI opposes.
Towns and counties across Western North Carolina are considering resolutions to oppose a Congressional bill that would pave the way for a casino to be built in Cleveland County, likely delivering a blow to profits at Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in Cherokee and Murphy.
A pair of bills now working their way through the state House and Senate would legalize sports betting on tribal lands, bringing to fruition a possibility that’s been discussed ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the subject in May 2018.
A bill currently in the United States Senate that could clear the way for a new North Carolina casino is already seeing stiff opposition from local governments in the vicinity of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ two Western North Carolina gaming facilities.
Tribal members received the largest per capita distribution ever released from casino profits when payments of $7,007 were released Monday, Dec. 3, bringing the yearly distribution for 2018 to $12,559 before taxes.
Now nearing its third birthday, the Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy is seeing strong numbers as it heads toward the July 23 launch of its first addition since opening in September 2015 — a 41,000-square-foot entertainment area featuring bowling, arcade games and a full-service restaurant.
Five years ago, Cherokee voters gave a decisive response on a referendum question asking whether they’d like to see the historical ban on alcohol sales outside casino property lifted on the Qualla Boundary, with 60 percent voting to keep Cherokee dry.
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