We’re going to be seeing the construction of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ (EBCI) second casino very soon here in the Murphy area. According to the Citizen-Times, the principal chief Michell Hicks has confirmed that the Tribal Council has already given its go-ahead. With the approval now in place, we could be seeing activity as early as this summer and it won’t be long before we’ll have our very own Cherokee Indian Casino in Murphy, North Carolina (construction is projected to take 18 months).
The Eastern Band’s first casino, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, is on the Qualla Boundary around an hour or so from Murphy and is probably the most well-known of all North Carolina casinos. It pulled in revenues of $386 million in 2010 and is putting the finishing touches to a $650-million expansion, which has turned it into a full-fledged resort. Harrah’s attracts an estimated 3.6 million visitors every year and finally began offering live table games in August of last year.
The second casino is going to start out more modestly. It’s going to be built on an 85-acre property located near the Snap-on Tools manufacturing plant off U.S. 19/74 just beyond the town limits and it has a budget of $110 million. The proposal from the Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise board is for a casino of 50,000-60,000 sq. ft., which would have space for up to 50 table games and 1,200 slot machines as well as a dining area. A 300-room hotel is also part of the proposal.
The tribe’s recent signing of a modified agreement with the state of North Carolina paved the way for all these developments. Apart from the Murphy casino, the Cherokee can also build one more facility in the future. They also have the exclusive rights to operate live table games like blackjack, craps, poker and roulette in all areas of the state west of Interstate 26, which the state will receive revenues from as well over a period of 30 years (4 percent for the first five years and a percentage more in the next 5-year increments).
The Cherokee Indian Casino in Murphy, North Carolina is an exciting development that’s sure to have a significant impact on our area and will not only create plenty of new jobs but will hopefully encourage the growth of other local enterprises as well. Once it opens its doors, we’re definitely going to be seeing an increase in tourism numbers and due to Murphy’s location near the state’s western border, many of these are projected to be coming from the Atlanta, Birmingham and Chattanooga metro areas.
Do you want to stay up-to-date on casino news? Check back often for future updates on the construction progress as well as news on other developments in Western NC. If you want more insights on anything from real estate market trends to North Carolina BBQ, browse my blog and the website and get in touch with me anytime. You can also post comments or questions in the comment field below.