Droves of patrons anxiously waited in line to enter Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel for the first time when it opened its doors on Monday, September 28.
After almost two years of construction and $110 million the facility owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians officially opened on Monday causing a traffic jam in Murphy, North Carolina due to the thousands of people lined up to enter the establishment on Casino Parkway.
Commenting on the crowd and the facility’s opening day, Harrah’s regional vice president of marketing Leeann Bridges said, “I am so thrilled,” “I didn’t know if we’d have a crowd or not, and seeing the lines of cars and people just makes everything so worth it for everybody. Our employees are so enthusiastic. They’re so excited to get going and take care of our guests. I feel so proud,” as reported by Cherokee One Feather.
The facility that will be managed by Caesars Entertainment, LLC., and create approximately 900-1,000 jobs, features a 50,000 square feet gaming floor with 70 table games and 1,050 slot machines, and a full service 300-room hotel. While the casino does not have any formal dining or restaurants, visitors will be able to choose from the Panda Express, Starbucks, Papa John’s, Earl of Sandwich, and Nathan’s Famous located in the casino’s Food Market.
Regional general manager and Harrah’s Senior Vice President Brooks Robinson said that the tribe and the area will be positively affected by the casino and that, “For the area, we know we’re going to have around 1,000 jobs. It will put around $40 million into the local economy through payroll that will be here. For the tribe, it will just be another way to build the revenue stream and through tribal distribution. All of the projections look like it should be very successful for the tribe.”
Estimated by officials to draw in excess of one million visitors annually, the Valley River Casino is Cherokee County’s second Harrah’s casino. The first and larger Harrah’s Cherokee Casino also located in Jackson County, sits at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains national Park recently underwent a $650 million expansion and now boasts 150,000 square feet of gaming space.