KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — Feeling lucky? You can now gamble at a new casino in Kings Mountain.
The South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation has opened a preliminary, temporary version of its proposed casino just across the border in North Carolina.
The Catawba Two Kings Casino opened their pre-launch facility Thursday, which features 500 slot machines spanning over 29,000 square feet.
The completion of the Catawba Nation casino and resort is still under construction and won’t be ready for several months.
For now, visitors can try their luck at the slot machines.
The casino is expected to raise millions for the Catawba Nation and bring hundreds of thousands of people to Kings Mountain. Leaders in the community are excited for the economic impact of the new casino, which will create 250 new jobs for the area.
Tribal leaders were joined by local and state government officials Thursday for a ribbon-cutting at the modular facility containing 500 slot machines just off Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain, about 35 miles west of Charlotte. It’s a key step in ultimately creating the $273 million Catawba Two Kings Casino with plans for 2,600 permanent jobs and revenues for the tribe.
Spurned by South Carolina in previous efforts to offer gambling other than bingo in their home state, Catawba members sought to build a casino in North Carolina, citing what they call its historical and ancestral ties to land in the state. The U.S. Interior Department agreed in early 2020 to put 17 acres in Cleveland County into trust for the project.
“Catawba Two Kings Casino represents the righting of a historical wrong for the Catawba Nation,” tribal Chief Bill Harris said in a news release. “But it is also so much more. It represents a prosperous future and renewed kinship between the Catawba Nation and the many communities that now occupy Catawba ancestral lands.”
The tribe and Gov. Roy Cooper agreed in January to a revenue-sharing compact, which was approved by federal officials in March.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which operates two casinos in far western North Carolina, sued the Catawbas and the Interior Department in federal court last year to try to stop the Kings Mountain casino. A federal judge sided with the Catawbas in April. The Eastern Band has appealed the ruling.
Construction on an introductory phase of the full casino and resort is expected to begin by the end of the year.
>> In the video at the top of the page, reporter Ken Lemon took a tour of the new casino.
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