Since opening last year, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino And Hotel is posting good numbers and has had a positive effect on the overall economy of western North Carolina.

According to a report from the Citizen-Times newspaper, the 300-room development in the town of Murphy employs 1,007 people while welcoming an average of around 3,000 visitors per day.

“Everything has been operating true to script in Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino And Hotel,” Jeremiah Wiggins, Planning And Analysis Regional Director for operator Caesars Entertainment Corporation, told the newspaper. “Seven months into the fiscal year, gaming revenue is within 1.9% of plan and cash flow to the tribe is within 0.3%. Admissions are above expectations and the hotel is near 100% occupancy.”

A partnership with the Eastern Band Of The Cherokee Nation, the $110 million Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino And Hotel opened in late-September after two years of construction and offers 1,000 slots alongside 70 table games and five food outlets. It has welcomed up to 6,000 visitors a day with Caesars Entertainment Corporation estimating that its overall annual payroll could reach as high as $40 million.

Wiggins revealed that annual gaming revenues and cash flow is expected to finish “at or very near plan levels” while he hopes the coming summer season will see Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino And Hotel “create a positive impact on the region through payroll expenditures as well as increased visitation and revenues for local businesses”.

“The job creation is a benefit we can already see,” Paul Worley, Economic And Workforce Development Director for Tri-County Community College in Murphy, told the newspaper. “It is hard to measure some other things until we are a year into it but it has already brought jobs into the community. Traffic numbers are up in the area and we’ll know more about the exact figures once the casino has been open for a year.”

Despite being less than 56 miles away from the nearby Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Wiggins stated that Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino And Hotel saw “only a very small percentage of the total employee count transferred” with the “overwhelming majority” coming from the areas surrounding Murphy.

“Payroll expenses in Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino And Hotel total $22.4 million for October to April,” Wiggins told the newspaper. “Consolidated payroll expenses for both properties total $86 million for the same time period compared to $61 million last year increasing by $25 million or 41%.”

Phylis Blackmon, Executive Director for Cherokee County Chamber Of Commerce, declared that she has been excited to see the number of new employees bringing business into the area.

“We’ve had increased traffic at our visitor center and I have loved seeing the employees in our businesses,” Blackmon told the newspaper. Since they opened our visitor center numbers have been up every month. I’ve been most encouraged that the number of employees has continued to go up. When it was first announced they talked about 800 employees and then it went to 900 and now it is over 1,000. Those are people getting a paycheck in our community.”