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Catawbas plan pre-launch summer opening for Casino

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An artist's rendering of the pre-launch Two Kings Casino and Resort facility provides a glimpse at what the Catawba Nation hopes to have up and running by summer 2021. (rendering provided)

In a recent media release to Community First Media, the Catawba Nation announced it plans to fast-track the summer 2021 opening of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project in Kings Mountain.

Calling the opening a "pre-launch", their plan calls for the facility to have 500 slot machines.

On April 16, the Catawba Nation received more good news when a federal ruling favored the U.S. Department of the Interior's action in taking land into trust for the Catawba Nation, rejecting a lawsuit by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

That decision was given last week by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg in a 50-plus page opinion sent out to the media from the Catawba Nation. Judge Boasberg concluded, as per the media release, that the Department of the Interior "...did not violate the Settlement Act or INGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act)" when it took the Kings Mountain land parcel into trust.

In response to the action, Catawba Chief William "Bill" Harris said, in part, "This is the right decision and the one we anticipated from the court to reject the litigation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians."

As for the pre-launch facility, it will be constructed using prefabricated modular structures, and will provide an initial opportunity for patrons to game with limited food and beverages and other guest amenities.

In an earlier CF Media article, Chief Harris said, "With the completion of our compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region."

The Catawba are working with consultants Delaware North, as well as developer Skyboat Gaming, on the summer 'pre-launch' facility.

The 17-acre casino site is off Dixon School Rd., in Kings Mountain, and is near Interstate 85 and about 35 miles west of Charlotte.

The total $273 million casino resort project is expected to create 2,600 permanent jobs at full buildout and thousands of construction jobs in the region.

Cleveland County Commissioner Johnny Hutchins said, "This project will prove to be a long-lasting and sustainable economic engine for the residents of Cleveland County."

The Catawba can now conduct Class III gaming, including operating slot machines and table games.

Earlier this year, the Catawba Compact was approved by Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein.

These and other actions, noted Chief Harris, recognize the Catawba Nation's historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina. Also, the compact with the state acknowledges their connection to North Carolina as well.

In addition to creating revenue for the state, it is to be noted the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.

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