In the American state of North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Nation has reportedly announced that it will be opening a temporary casino as it progresses towards debuting its full $273 million Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort.
According to a Friday report from The Charlotte Observer newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe disclosed that it is working with American casino operator Delaware North Companies Incorporated and local real estate developer SkyBoat Gaming LLC in an attempt to ‘fast-track’ the debut of the interim gambling facility by the end of the summer.
Bill Harris serves as Chief for the Catawba Indian Nation and he reportedly stated that the temporary casino will sit on the same 16.5-acre plot of land as its under-construction Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort and offer patrons a selection of approximately 500 slots alongside ‘limited food and beverage and other guest amenities.’ He also declared that this coming facility is to be manufactured from ‘prefabricated modular structures’ and eventually be joined by an ‘introductory’ phase of the full project featuring up to 1,300 additional machines.
The newspaper reported that the revelation from the Catawba Indian Nation came only a day after the Bureau of Indian Affairs signed off on a revenue sharing agreement the tribe inked with the administration of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in January. This arrangement was purportedly the penultimate stage in the tribe’s long-running campaign to bring a Las Vegas-style development to the small community of Kings Mountain, which lies only about 30 miles from the region’s largest city, Charlotte.
Reportedly read a Friday statement from Harris…
“With the completion of our compact with the state of North Carolina, the Catawba Indian Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region.”
For his part and Brian Hansberry from Buffalo-headquartered Delaware North Companies Incorporated reportedly told The Charlotte Observer that the temporary tribal casino will moreover serve as ‘a place to teach incoming staff’ while simultaneously accommodating locals ‘who are anxious to start gaming this summer.’ He purportedly furthermore divulged that the completed Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort is set to create thousands of temporary construction jobs as well as in the region of 2,600 fill-time positions with its ‘introductory’ phase due to open in ‘about a year.’
However, the newspaper reported that this whole project could still be scuppered by a federal lawsuit 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 is engaging in ‘a modern-day land grab’ because its ancestral territory lies some 34 miles away in the gambling-hostile state of South Carolina.
*Update – On June 29, 2021, leaders of the Catawba Indian Nation revealed its new pre-launch gaming facility is scheduled to open its doors at noon on Thursday, July 1 after a planned 9:30 am ribbon-cutting ceremony.