• 72°

Feds OK casino revenue agreement between NC, Catawba Indian Nation

By Michelle Liu

Associated Press/Report for America

The federal government has approved a revenue-sharing agreement between the Catawba Indian Nation and the state of North Carolina that clears the way for a casino near the state’s southern border.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs signed off on the compact last week, the Catawba tribe said in a news release Thursday.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper inked the deal with the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based tribe in January, paving the way for Las Vegas-style gaming at Kings Mountain, about a half hour west of Charlotte. The Catawba tribe has said the planned $273 million resort would bring thousands of jobs to North Carolina.

The tribe held a groundbreaking for the casino in July and expects an introductory gaming facility to be up and running by the end of the year, spokesperson Laney Buckley said Thursday.

Under the agreement, the tribe will pay up to 8% of gaming revenues to the state.

Casino revenues will also go toward an environmental conservation education fund, employment opportunities on and near Catawba lands and other community initiatives, the tribe has said.

North Carolina currently has two casinos, both operated by the Eastern Band of the Cherokees, in the southwestern corner of the state. The Eastern Band sued the Catawbas and the Interior Department in federal court last year to try to stop the new casino. The suit, which is still pending, claims political pressure from South Carolina developer Wallace Cheves prompted the government to clear the way for the casino without congressional approval.

In addition to the casino, Cheves is planning to build nearly 600 homes and luxury apartments opposite the casino on the other side of Interstate 85.

The Catawbas have said they have a right to the land for the casino based on a 1993 agreement that gave them federal recognition. The tribe points out that it has long had historical and ancestral ties to land in North Carolina.

But the Cherokees have called the Catawbas’ efforts “a modern-day land grab” and that, per the legal process, the government is supposed to follow to acquire trust land for the Catawba tribe, that land must be in South Carolina. Strict laws in South Carolina prohibit most forms of gambling in the state.

“This approval stems from the DOI’s original illegal act to take land into trust and force an unwanted casino on North Carolina, a decision that we continue to challenge in federal court,” said Richard Sneed, principal chief of the tribe, in a statement. “We believe the facts are clear and that the court will invalidate this illegal casino and along with it, this compact.”

The land for the proposed casino is 35 miles northwest of the Catawba reservation in upstate South Carolina.

Comments

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT

Nation/World

D-Day survivor, WWII torch bearer Ray Lambert dies at 100

Nation/World

Prince Philip was always defined by role as husband of British queen

BREAKING NEWS

One dead, several injured after head-on collision in China Grove

Crime

Man, woman charged for selling drugs to undercover deputies

Crime

Blotter: Rowan County man charged with indecent liberties with children

Local

Spencer town board gets look at Park Plaza progress

Business

‘Applicant market’: Unemployment rate improving as businesses hire more workers

Local

National, local business leaders praise Salisbury’s initiative to support Black-owned operations

Nation/World

Tillis has prostate cancer surgery

Coronavirus

Adverse reactions surface from Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nation/World

Expert: Lack of oxygen killed George Floyd, not drugs

Local

Quotes of the week

Nation/World

Biden seeks crackdown on homemade firearms

Nation/World

Victim of former NFL player’s rampage wrote of faith, life’s fragility

News

Wrongly imprisoned man gets $750,000

High School

West falls to Statesville, finishes second in NPC

Education

Middle, high school students head back to classes full time