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Eastern Band of Cherokees Hopes New Harrah's Casino Attracts Out-of-State Visitors

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hopes to solidify its stake on gaming in the southeast by opening a second casino in North Carolina.

The tribe's $110 million Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino will open its doors on September 28 in Murphy, in the western corner of North Carolina. At 125,000 square feet, the casino is much smaller than the tribe's existing Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee. There are no Las Vegas-style gaming facilities in neighboring South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.

The new gaming floor will cover 50,000 square feet and offer over 1,000 slots and 70 traditional table games, plus a five-outlet Food Market. The tribe anticipates the new seven-story hotel with 301 rooms will stay full with out-of-state visitors from Georgia and Tennessee.

Michell Hicks, the outgoing principal chief for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, said a major impetus behind building the new casino was attracting more customers from Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville.

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“That was the final determination on the feasibility: capturing parts of those three cities,” he told the AP.