Catawba tribe inks deal with state


Dustin George
 
| The Shelby Star

A planned casino has taken yet another step toward becoming a reality.

The Catawba Nation and the State of North Carolina signed a compact on Friday which allows the state to share in revenues generated by the Two Kings Casino Resort, which is planned for Kings Mountain. The casino will be operated by the Catawbas.

“On behalf of the Catawba 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,” said Catawba Chief Bill Harris.

The compact also makes way for Vegas-style gaming to be offered at the casino and is the latest in a years-long effort by the Catawba Nation to open a casino in Kings Mountain.

Last year the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a years-long review, took 17 acres of land into trust status in Kings Mountain for the Catawba Nation. Later that year the tribe officially named the Two Kings Casino Resort and broke ground on the project.

The proposed casino has been met with some opposition, including from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which operates Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee.

Last year the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to reverse the Department of the Interior decision to give the land in Kings Mountain to the Catawba Nation.

“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,” said Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. “But this compact changes nothing. We continue to believe the courts will affirm the illegality of this casino and when that happens, the Catawba agreement will be nothing more than a worthless piece of paper.”

Ground has already been broken on the casino, and it is slated to open in the fall.



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