Cherokees Look to Expand Casino - Monday 27th of February 2006

RALEIGH, North Carolina – As reported by the Kingston Free Press: "Nestled along the Great Smokey Mountains sits Harrah's Cherokee Casino. First opened in 1997, the 175,000-square-foot casino is a top tourist attraction which employs about 1,800 people.

"A published report in the nearby Sylva Herald says the Jackson County casino has a payroll of about $48.3 million.

"Even with all the economic success of the casino, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians doesn't believe it has reached its potential. The Cherokees would like to expand the casino to having live games, a move that could bring in more tourists and provide more jobs in the Western North Carolina community.

"Under a pact between the Eastern Band and former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, the Cherokees were allowed to open up a casino. However, gambling was limited to machine or video games. No live games, such as people dealing blackjack cards, were allowed.

"Now the Eastern Band is in negotiations with Gov. Mike Easley to expand the gambling allowed.

"…The casino has been credited with benefiting a diabetes clinic, an urgent care clinic, a wellness center, a youth center, a recreation park, a visitor's center, a community center, a nursery and a fire department substation, according to the Sylva Herald report…"

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