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NC Lawmakers Project Eastern Cherokee Gaming Compact Will Pass

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Two North Carolina senate leaders told Cherokee One Feather that bipartisan support looks strong to approve a new Class III gaming compact for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The tribe wants to add live card dealers to its Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel. Harrah’s is currently limited to electronic gaming by the state, although Gov. Bev Perdue is negotiating with the tribe to allow live dealers and table games.

“The votes are there," State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, told One Feather.

In May, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and Caesars Entertainment, Inc. celebrated the first phase of the Cherokee, North Carolina Harrah’s five-year, $650 million expansion. The Southeast’s largest current hospitality expansion project, according to Harrah’s, features a casino floor nearly doubled in size, a third hotel tower, a luxury spa and a new 3,000-seat events center, as well as new hotel and casino parking garages and food and retail outlets.

But to compete with Las Vegas–style venues, the casino needs table games. “I’d like to think that we would offer a full-service casino experience,” said Harrah’s General Manager Darold Londo, reported the Smoky Mountain News on May 25. “With our proximity to Atlanta and Charlotte and Knoxville, where you have people that fly to other places to play those games, if we offered those things they could come to Cherokee instead.”