Tribal Organization: Catawba Indian Nation
Kings Mountain Boulevard interchange at I-85 Exit 5
Kings Mountain, NC
The federal government has approved plans of the Catawba Indian Nation to build a casino resort in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, a small suburban city near the stateline with South Carolina and 33 miles west of Charlotte. See news article.
The new casino will be named "Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort".
The Catawba Indians held a groundbreaking ceremony July 22, 2020 and began construction of the casino the next day.
Native American tribes require federal recognition and federal approval before building a casino under the Indian Gaming Regulation Act. The Catawba received federal recognition in 1993 and is the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina.
In September 2013 the Catawba tribe took its first major step towards building a casino when it filed an application with the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs for a land trust and casino rights on 16 acres near Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The ancestral homeland of the Catawba stretched from South Carolina, through North Carolina and into southern Virginia.
Since the Catawba Indian Nation filed its application in 2013, there was five years of delays and no action by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This prompted South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to introduce the bill in March 2019 to bypass the BIA and approve the application by an act of Congress. Read the news story "New Hope for Catawba Casino at Kings Mountain NC" (below).
This resulted in federal approval for the Kings Mountain being granted March 12, 2020 by the U.S. Department of Interior. Read more.
After a groundbreaking ceremony July 22, 2020, the Catawba Indians began construction the next day of their Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort.
A temporary casino is expected by Fall 2021 while construction continues on the final casino. The final Two Kings Casino would be completed in 2022. There are two important factors that may impact or delay this timeline:
The Catawba Nation hopes to negotiate a gaming compact with the state governor to allow Class III gaming inside the casino. Class III are house-banked games. Without a compact the Catawba are authorized to proceed with Class II gaming, which is non-banked casino games played against other players.
The Eastern Band of Cherokees, who operates tribal casinos in western North Carolina, are pursuing a court decision to block the Catawba casino.
The initial plan to build a resort casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina was announced by Chief Bill Harris at a tribal meeting on September 7, 2013.
Project: $273 million casino complex that will create 5,000 construction jobs and generate $300 million of annual economic activity.
Location: The casino site is 16 acres in the northwestern quadrant of the intersection of Kings Mountain Blvd. and I-85 (Exit 5) in Kings Mountain, NC.
Casino Name: The tribe will partner with a major casino brand for the naming.
Casino: 195,000-square-foot casino comples with a 75,128-square-foot gaming floor, 1,796 electronic gaming devices and 54 table games.
Hotel: 1,500 hotel rooms
Restaurants & Stores: Space with 940 seats
Entertainment Center: Full concert and event venue.
Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians
The Catawba plan raised immediate opposition from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, who called it a "land grab." The tribe operates Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino, both in Cherokee County, North Carolina.
North Carolina Legislature
A letter written by House Speaker Thom Tillis and signed by a hundred House members sent to the United States Secretary of the Interior requesting the Catawba trust application be denied.
The Haywood County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Apr 3, 2019 opposing the Catawba casino proposed in Cleveland County. Haywood County is the first of seven western counties to respond to a request from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to oppose the Catawba casino.
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195,000-square-foot casino complex
75,128-square-foot gaming floor
1,796 slot machines or electronic gaming machines
54 table games
The type of gaming is yet to be determined. Class II gaming has been approved by the federal government, however, the Catawba tribe will try to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the North Carolina state government. A Class III compact would establish the type and number of games and the percentage of revenue the Catawba would pay to the state.
Restaurants with seating for 940 guests. The number of restaurants and their cuisines will be announced at a later date.
A full entertainment center will be built to host concerts and other special events.
1,500 guest rooms
There will be one and maybe two hotels on the property.
Details are to be announced at a later date.
January 10, 2021
The Catawba Indian Nation plans to build a 60,000-square-foot initial casino that will open this fall. Tribal Administrator Elizabeth Harris said "After clearing is complete, we will begin building an introductory facility."
The temporary casino will feature 1,300 slot machines and a restaurant. its location will be off Dixon School Road near Interstate 85.
The Catawba Nation is currently seeking a gaming compact with Gov. Roy Cooper to allow Vegas-style slots and table games in exchange for tax payments on the gaming revenues. Construction may wait until an agreement is signed.
A lawsuit against the Catawba casino has been filed by the Eastern Band of the Cherokees, who claim the casino project is a "modern-day land grab". The court wants the final legal filings for this case by the end of this month.
October 30, 2020
A bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month to add Congressional support to the decision by the U.S. Interior Department to transfer North Carolina land owned by the Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina into federal trust for the purpose of building the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort in Kings Mountain, NC.
The intent of House Bill HR 8255 is to stop the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from preventing the construction of the Catawba casino. The bill reaffirms the Interior Department's decision to transfer 17 acres of land in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, into federal trust for the Catawba Tribe. The trust removes state jurisdiction over the casino land and places it under the authority of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Bill HR 8255 titled the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act was introduced by Rep. GK Butterfield (D-North Carolina) and co-sponsored by four Democrats and three Republicans
September 3, 2020
Last Friday the Catawba Indian Nation announced the official name of the new casino under construction at Kings Mountain, NC. The casino name will be "Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort".
Catawba Chief Bill Harris told the press:
"Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort celebrates our rich history and hopeful future in our ancestral lands in North Carolina - where our people were established hundreds of years ago, as the names Catawba River, Catawba County and Catawba College suggest.
"The name pays tribute to the 18th century Catawba Chief King Hagler and to the City of Kings Mountain, which will be home to the new casino resort. It also symbolizes the unique relationship that the Catawba people have historically had - and will continue to strengthen going forward - with fellow residents of the region."
The logo for the new casino depicts the two kings: King Hagler and Kings Mountain.
August 23, 2020
Buncombe County has joined the Eastern Band of Cherokee in opposition to the tribal casino under construction by the Catawba Indian Nation at Kings Mountain, NC. The Catawba Indians are headquartered in South Carolina with ancestral lands in North Carolina.
Last Tuesday the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 to pass a resolution denouncing the Catawba casino. The commissioners fear the new casino will harm the revenues and jobs provided by the two casinos of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
Cherokee, NC 28719
Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino
Murphy, NC 28906
The board's action will not delay construction of the Kings Mountain casino, but may influence the governor's decision regarding a gaming compact to allow Class III gaming at the casino. The Eastern Band of Cherokee has filed a second lawsuit to stop construction after an earlier suit failed in federal court.
July 24, 2020
The Catawba Indians celebrated the groundbreaking for their $300M Kings Mountain casino resort on Wednesday morning, and construction began Thursday morning. The casino should be completed and opened by next spring. Construction will follow on the resort hotel with final completion within three years.
Catawba Groundbreaking July 22, 2020
The Catawba Indian Nation has started construction of their casino despite lawsuit to stop them filed by the Eastern Band of Cherokees.
March 19, 2020
Last week the U.S. Department of Interior approved the Catawba Nation's application to build a $273 million tribal casino and resort in Kings Mountain, NC.
Courtesy of WBTV 3
In a letter to the tribe from Tara Sweeney, assistant secretary of the Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs, the government will take 50 acres of Catawba-owned land into federal trust with 17 acres dedicated for the casino and 33 acres for related development.
The Eastern Band of the Cherokees, owners of Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort, are upset and opposed to this decision. The federal letter addresses this issue in these statements:
The Catawba tribe has "both a tribal population and governmental presence in North Carolina where the site is located."
"Though the Site falls within an area where another tribe may assert aboriginal ties, that fact does not detract from the Nation's ties to the land."
Catawba Chief William Harris added in a press conference:
"[The tribe] is very thankful for the department's decision to take this land into trust, enabling us to achieve the promise of self-determination though economic development."
"It's a righting of a wrong. We have now regained what once belonged to us."
December 28, 2019
The Catawba Indian Nation is nearing an important milestone in their quest to build an Indian gaming casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has finished its Environmental Assessment of the proposed casino site at Dixon School Road and I-85 Exit 5.
The study is a 674-page report published on Dec. 18. It covers the environmental impact of building a tribal casino and entertainment complex on the 16-acre site. Local residents now have 30 days to review and make comments on the report. The Bureau of Indian Affairs will then decide whether to move forward and transfer the land into trust of the Catawba Indian Nation.
This will be a major step forward for the tribe if the transfer is approved by the BIA. The timeframe to build and open the casino could then be two to three years.
March 16, 2019
After five years of no action by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the casino application submitted in 2013 by the Catawba Indian Nation, Sen. Linsay Graham (R-SC) has introduced a Senate bill to bypass the agency and approve placing the Catawba casino site into federal trust by an act of Congress.
The two North Carolina senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, both co-sponsor the bill.
"The Catawba Nation has been treated unfairly by the federal government, and our legislation rights that wrong," said Sen. Graham. "I hope this legislation will be quickly passed through the Congress and signed into law so we can once and for all bring resolution to this issue."
Within hours of the bill's introduction, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians issued a statement of opposition. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is the only federally-recognized tribe in North Caolina.
"The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' (EBCI) centuries-long North Carolina tradition has created a lasting partnership with the state to provide a strong future for generations through health care, education and business. While the tribe respects and encourages progress for other Native American communities, including South Carolina's Catawba Indian Nation, the recent filing of a bill in the US Senate to give North Carolina land to the South Carolina tribe for an off-reservation casino is nothing more than a modern day land grab by the federal government of Cherokee aboriginal lands. This action circumvents the existing process for the Catawba Indian Nation to acquire lands in South Carolina, is unprecedented in US history, and a federal government bully tactic that should not be part of modern governing. We encourage the Catawba Indian Nation to go through the same process in their home state of South Carolina that the EBCI did in North Carolina to build their business - to develop their on-reservation economy as it should be - in their community. Doing it the right way will ensure they are able to take care of their members and support their local community as we've done for years in North Carolina."
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
July 26, 2015
Development plans are moving forward for the new Kings Mountain casino. The Catawba Indian Nation are the owners of the casino. The tribe is looking for a nationally recognized casino brand company to partner with them.
A possible partnership could be with Hard Rock International. The Hard Rock brand is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. A partnership between the two could bring additional support from political leaders for the Kings Mountain casino.
If a partnership is able to be formed, the Catawba Indian Nation will be able to provide a proven and regulated structure to their project. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are the operators of the only other tribal casino in the state. They own the Harrah's Cherokee.
June 30, 2014
The Catawba Indian tribe has proposed a new casino near Kings Mountain. The proposal has caused a controversy.
The Kings Mountain Awareness Group has challenged the impact that the casino will have on the area.
Meetings have been organized by the group for both business owners and the community.
On July 17 another meeting will be held with a speaker from D.C. that will talk about the negative affects of small communities and casinos.
The group also plans to attend future Kings Mountain City Council meetings. As well as Cleveland County Board of Commissioners. The group intends to speak about their concerns of the Kings Mountain casino at the meetings. They are also hopeful to have local politicians change their support for the casino.
September 09, 2013
The Catawba Indian Nation, located in South Carolina, is proposing a new casino to be built. However, the casino would be built just over the North Carolina border.
Previously the tribe has been trying to build a casino in South Carolina. The state has been opposed the project whenever submitted.
Lawmakers for North Carolina are also not in favor of the casino project. It is believed the Catawba Indian Nation project is approved, then other tribes from out of state will also try to build their casino there.
The tribe believes that the casino project will create many new jobs for the area. As well as earn the state and local economy millions in gaming revenues.
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