Live dealers at the gaming tables beginning this week.
After the Department of the Interior signed into law the amendment to the gaming compact between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the state of North Carolina two weeks ago, the casino acted fast and dealt out the first live hand Wednesday night at 6 p.m.
This compact expands the Eastern Band's gaming enterprise and is creating more than 500 new jobs at Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel in Western North Carolina.
Currently, 40 digital table games are available. Now, guests have 25 different live games such as Black Jack, Roulette and Craps with additional games available. Harrah's anticipates having up to 100 traditional table games available by late November. Traditional slot machines will be added to the mix, and credit will be offered by early October.
Principal Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians believed that by crossing the final hurdle in the process, the economic benefits the expansion will bring to Western North Carolina will be incredible.
“With the approval of the tribal state gaming compact by the Department of the Interior the tribe now has the opportunity to increase jobs in the region and enhance opportunities for our tribe and for our neighbors,” said Hicks. “This compact is the result of hard work by tribal leaders, the support and partnership of the leadership of the state of North Carolina and the work of our employees that make our gaming enterprise a success.”
The gaming compact, which was signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue in June, is designed to put the state's portion of the revenues into public education. The state will receive a percentage of the revenue from the new games, estimated at $2 million to $3 million a year, which will be put back into the state's public education fund.
“I would like to thank the North Carolina Legislature and Gov. Beverly Perdue for supporting our vision of economic growth for our state,” said Hicks. “As we move forward we will continue to rely on our partnerships to ensure this opportunity continues to foster business for Western North Carolina and the entire state. Most importantly, we hope to have a positive impact on the educational opportunities for the children of this state.”
The process has not been a short one. With a tug and pull in the General Assembly, the House, Senate and governor's office debated for months in order to reach an agreement that would best benefit all parties involved.
“We would like to thank the Tribal Gaming Commission for their support,” said Senior Vice President and General Manager Brooks Robinson. “Their attention to the details of amending and updating our internal control and auditing procedures is a regulatory model for others to follow.”
Robinson noted that with the addition of live dealers, Western North Carolina makes history by housing the largest expansion project in the country. “With the final approval from the Department of the Interior, we are now the premier gaming destination in the Southeast. With the near completion of our $650 million expansion and our new table game offerings, Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel is transforming into a world-class resort, entertainment and tourism destination,” said Robinson. “The finishing touch will be our 18,000 square foot Mandera Spa, slated to open towards the end of November.”
About Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel
Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel, a 56-acre property, is an enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Currently the Casino & Hotel is expanding and is the largest hospitality development project underway in the Southeast. In addition to the 56-acre property, guests have privileged access to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation-owned Sequoyah National Golf Club, named one of Golf Magazine's best new golf courses.