(STL.News) A planned casino for North Carolina took another step toward becoming a reality when a new compact was signed in January this year. Despite legal wrangling going on for years, and they’re still being opposed to the proposed casino, it looks likely that the new Catawba Nation casino resort will go ahead after the establishment recently agreed on a revenue share with the state of North Carolina.
Casinos Currently Operating in North Carolina
There are currently two casinos operating in North Carolina, both of which are Cherokee casinos. Check out the Map of Casinos in North Carolina at casinos.us to learn more about Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River casino and hotel and Harrah’s Cherokee casino. The two establishments, which opened in 1997, provide slot games, dice games, lottery games, poker, blackjack, roulette, poker tournaments, and more.
Casinos were not always permitted in the state of North Carolina, though. In fact, casino gambling was only legalized in the state following the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, which enables tribes to negotiate compacts with the state to operate officially licensed casinos. At present, North Carolina has a new proposed Gaming Commission Bill. The bill is still under review, but it should cover all types of gambling activities in the state, including online gambling.
The New Compact Signed in January 2021
On September 9, 2013, the federally recognized tribe of the Catawba Nation announced plans to build a $600 million casino in North Carolina. The plans now look set to go ahead because on January 22, 2021, the Catawba Nation and the state of North Carolina signed a compact allowing the state to share in the revenues generated by the new casino resort planned for Kings Mountain to be run by the Catawba people. The signed written agreement concerning the Two Kings Casino Resort paves the way for Las Vegas-style gaming to be provided at the gambling establishment. The planned casino resort will be located about half an hour west of the North Carolina city of Charlotte.
While the Catawba Reservation is located in York County in South Carolina, the Catawba tribe also has a congressionally established service area in North Carolina, which covers Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Rutherford, and Union counties. But the Catawba people also own the 16.57-acre site in Kings Mountain, where the proposed casino resort will be situated.
The agreement follows years of effort by the Catawba Nation to open a casino on the site. In 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior took 17 acres of land in Kings Mountain into trust status for the Catawba Nation. While federal approval is still required for the type of gaming to take place at the casino resort, the compact meant construction on the site could begin. Later in 2020, the casino resort was officially named, and in July, the Catawba tribe broke ground on the project.
The Opposition to the New Kings Mountain Casino
It has taken some years to get to this point due to the plan being met with various oppositions, including opposition from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who operate the two casinos in the southwest corner of North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians filed a federal lawsuit to attempt a reversal in the Department of the Interior’s decision to give the Kings Mountain land to the Catawba Nation, claiming that the South Carolina developer Wallace Cheves put political pressure on the government to clear the way for the casino resort without congressional approval. In addition to the casino, Wallace Cheves plans to build around 600 houses and luxury apartments opposite the casino resort, on the other side of Interstate 85. Despite the Catawba people saying they have a right to the land for building a casino, based on the 1993 agreement giving them federal recognition, the Cherokees claim the Catawba people are trying to pull off a modern-day land grab.
Speaking on behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Principal Chief Richard Sneed publicly stated that the new compact changes nothing. He said he believes the court will affirm the illegality of the Two Kings Casino Resort. On the other hand, Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation called the new agreement a step further in bringing about thousands of jobs and economic advantages to the state of North Carolina. In fact, the Catawba Nation does not foresee any more potential delays because the newly signed compact is closely modeled after the agreement North Carolina has with the Cherokee casinos.