In the American state of North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Nation has reportedly opened a temporary casino as it continues work on making its more permanent Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort a reality.
According to a Thursday report from the Associated Press news service, the federally-recognized tribe agreed a revenue-sharing gaming compact with the southern state in January and plans to debut the ‘introductory’ phase of the coming $273 million gambling-friendly facility sometime next year. This envisioned Las Vegas-style development is purportedly due to sit on a 16.5-acre plot of land near the small community of Kings Mountain, which lies only about 35 miles from the region’s largest city, Charlotte, and create approximately 2,600 jobs.
In the meantime, the news service reported that the tribe has now premiered a 29,000 sq ft temporary gambling operation on the same site complete with around 500 slots that is expected to provide employment for as many as 1,100 local people. Work to bring this interim project to life purportedly began in March before it was officially inaugurated on Thursday morning via a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several local dignitaries including the Chief for the Catawba Indian Nation, Bill Harris.
Harris reportedly told the Associated Press…
“Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort represents the righting of a historical wrong for the Catawba Indian Nation but it is also so much more. It represents a prosperous future and renewed kinship between the Catawba Indian Nation and the many communities that now occupy our ancestral lands.”
However, the news service went on to report that the ultimate future of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort remains in doubt courtesy of a federal lawsuit that was filed last year by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. This second tribe is responsible for North Carolina’s sole pair of existing casino resorts, the 1,100-room Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and smaller Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel, and believes that the Catawba Indian Nation should not be permitted to run a casino in ‘The Tar Heel State’ due to an assertion that the defendant’s traditional territory lies some 34 miles away in the gambling-hostile state of South Carolina.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reportedly lost the first round of this legal challenge in April courtesy of a ruling from United States District Court Judge James Boasberg but has subsequently appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Nonetheless, Harris is purportedly remaining confident and later told the Smoky Mountain News newspaper that the continuing legal action against his tribe’s plan to fully debut its Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort is ‘frivolous’ and will ultimately be defeated.