The federally-recognized Catawba Indian Nation has reportedly inked a gaming compact with the state of North Carolina that will allow it to offer gambling within its under-construction Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort.

According to a Sunday report from The Shelby Star newspaper, the tribe is hoping to open the first phase of its coming $273 million development by the end of the year complete with a casino offering a collection of at least 1,300 slots. The Cleveland County venue is to purportedly sit on a 16.5-acre plot of land near the small community of Kings Mountain, which lies only about 30 miles from the region’s largest city, Charlotte, with the state now in line to receive a portion of its revenues.

Encouraging effort:

Bill Harris serves as Chief for the Catawba Indian Nation and he reportedly thanked the Democratic governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, for his endeavors in helping the tribe to secure the gaming compact before detailing that the agreement represents another positive stage in its long campaign to bring a Las Vegas-style casino resort to ‘The Tar Heel State’.

Harris reportedly told the newspaper…

“On behalf of the Catawba Indian Nation, I sincerely thank Governor Roy Cooper and his team for their thoughtful collaboration in creating this compact, which is the key step in bringing economic benefits and thousands of jobs from our casino project to the citizens of North Carolina.”

Adversarial anger:

Despite the signing of this agreement, the plan to open the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort later this year could still reportedly be scuppered by a federal lawsuit filed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in March. This second tribe operates the only two existing casinos in North Carolina, the large Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and smaller Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel, and purportedly believes that its rival should have its land-into-trust decision reversed owing to the fact that its ancestral territory lies some 34 miles away in the gambling-hostile state of South Carolina.

Richard Sneed, Principal Chief for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, reportedly told The Shelby Star…

“The proposed Kings Mountain casino was born of an illegal act and has continued to swirl in controversy and unethical behavior. It’s disappointing to hear that the governor felt compelled to sign an agreement that furthers this scheme and threatens the integrity of tribal gaming everywhere. But this compact changes nothing. We continue to believe the courts will affirm the illegality of this casino and when that happens, the Catawba Indian Nation agreement will be nothing more than a worthless piece of paper.”