• 54°

North Carolina, Catawba tribe ink casino revenue agreement

North Carolina’s governor has signed a revenue-sharing agreement with the Catawba Indian Nation that clears the way for Las Vegas-style gaming to be offered at a planned resort in Kings Mountain, officials said.

Federal approval is still needed for the type of gaming agreed to by Gov. Roy Cooper, but the agreement means construction on the site can start, according to the Catawba tribe, which is based in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

North Carolina currently has two casinos, both operated by the Eastern Band of the Cherokees, in the southwestern corner of the state.

The Catawba tribe’s planned $273 million Two Kings Casino Resort would be located about a half hour west of Charlotte.

The Catawba Nation held a groundbreaking for the casino in July and has already done site work needed for construction to start.

The Eastern Band of the Cherokees sued the Catawbas and the Interior Department in federal court last year to try to stop the new casino. The suit, which is still pending, claims political pressure from South Carolina developer Wallace Cheves prompted the government to clear the way for the casino without congressional approval.

In addition to the casino, Cheves is planning to build nearly 600 homes and luxury apartments opposite the casino on the other side of Interstate 85.

The Catawbas have said they have a right to the land for the casino based on a 1993 agreement that gave them federal recognition. But the Cherokees have called the Catawbas’ efforts “a modern-day land grab.”

Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band called Cooper’s signing of the agreement with the Catawbas “disappointing,” The Charlotte Observer reported.

“But this compact changes nothing,” Sneed said in a prepared statement. “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.”

In a Catawba Nation news release, Chief Bill Harris called the agreement the key step in bringing economic benefits and thousands of jobs to North Carolina.

Cooper spokesman Ford Porter confirmed on Saturday that the agreement had been signed and sent to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Tribal leaders don’t foresee any special difficulties obtaining federal approval because the agreement with the Cooper administration is “closely modeled after a compact that Interior has approved for another Tribal Nation,” Catawba Nation Tribal Administrator Elizabeth Harris told the newspaper in an email Saturday. The agreement calls for payment terms to the state that are similar to North Carolina’s compact with the Cherokee casinos, Harris added.

Harris said the tribe is working with banks and investment firms to secure financing for the project.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

New coronavirus variant shows up in North Carolina

North Carolina weekly gas price update: Prices down slightly from last week

News

Halifax County man wins $110,000 Cash 5 jackpot

Lifestyles

Dare County Parks and Recreation facility reopenings announced

Lifestyles

Red Cross blood drive schedule set for March

News

Debt report says North Carolina government has more borrowing capacity

Crime

Former Marine gets prison time for smuggling guns to Haiti

News

Government offers plan to release more endangered red wolves

Lifestyles

Polar Plunge benefits Special Olympics

News

NC Senate approves bill allowing concealed handguns at more churches

Crime

Cooper announces reward for information on Wilson County murders

News

More federal coronavirus relief funds debated by NC House

News

Public meeting addresses Avon beach nourishment

Lifestyles

Outer Banks Community Foundation honors 2020 champions, elects 2021 board

Lifestyles

Manteo Rotary Club presents fellowship to horticulturist

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for robbing bank

Crime

Federal jury convicts North Carolina man of narcotics and firearms offenses

Crime

Governor announces reward for information on murder on Halifax County

News

Bobcat on the refuge

News

Future of Soundside Event Site discussed

News

NPS issues interim rules for filming in park areas

News

Manteo commissioners approve permit for new athletic field house at Manteo High School

News

Weekly North Carolina gas price update

Crime

North Carolina man receives 13 years in federal prison for drug distribution

Crime

Cooper announces reward for information about Wilson County murder

News

North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander announces retirement