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Catawba Nation To Break Ground On Permanent $700M North Carolina Tribal Casino

The Catawba Nation announced construction on its $700 million permanent gaming facility and hotel, Two Kings Casino, begins on June 7.

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Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
3 mins read

The Catawba Nation, a federally recognized tribe based in Rock Hill, South Carolina, announced that construction of its $700 million casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, will begin this week.

Tribe leaders said construction on the new permanent casino resort in Kings Mountain, about 35 miles west of Charlotte and near the South Carolina border, would start on June 7, at 10 a.m.

The ground-breaking of Two Kings Casino had been postponed due to a lawsuit between the Catawba Nation and its former casino developer, Sky Boat Gaming, over the ground lease for its trust lands.

Reaching terms to go their separate ways, the two parties settled in May for an unknown amount.

Key takeaways

  • Tribal casino leaders said the project involves two phases to finish the permanent construction, with the first one expected to be complete in early 2026. The construction would also create nearly 2,000 jobs.
  • The Catawba Tribe advertised for more workers after announcing it was adding table games to the temporary casino.
  • The Tar Heel State has failed to approve retail or NC online casinos but launched online sports betting earlier this year.

Catawba Tribe can build a NC casino after finalizing a private settlement

The Catawba Nation, which has about 3,000 members, has operated a temporary casino in Kings Mountain since 2021. The gaming facility offers over 1,000 slot machines, video table games, and a retail sportsbook.

The Tribe planned to build a permanent destination resort within a year or two. However, the legal battle over the land‘s ground lease has delayed construction.

Last year, the Catawba Nation issued an official statement asking its development partner for its North Carolina casino to stop taking advantage of the tribe. The tribe requested Sky Boat Gaming to withdraw its demand of a $125 million payoff and accept a “fair exit deal.” That deal would have allowed the tribe to move on with the development of its $700 million permanent gaming and hotel location.

The private settlement wasn’t finalized until last month. The settlement with Sky Boat Gaming, which Wallace Cheves leads, removed the company from any interest in the casino project.

The tribe has now announced the ownership debate has ended. Financing is in place and the tribe can begin building the $700 million Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort.

Brian Harris Catawba Nation Chief stated in a news release: “We persevered to achieve a fair deal so that we can now realize the full financial and economic benefits of the project for Catawba Nation members and residents of Cleveland County.

The establishment of this casino is not just about bricks and mortar; it symbolizes our commitment to preserving our tribal identity, supporting our community and creating opportunities for our people.”

What will the new North Carolina casino include?

The Catawba Nation will build Two Kings Casino with Delaware North, a global hospitality giant that has been the tribe’s consultant on the project since 2019.

As revealed, the permanent gaming facility will be a two-phase project. The resort’s first phase is expected to open in early 2026 and employ 420 people. It will include:

  • A single-story casino with 1,350 slots and electronic gaming machines
  • 12 table games
  • A 40-seat restaurant
  • Sportsbook with 30 self-service kiosks

The second phase will include a 400-room hotel. The final phase will increase the resort’s offering to:

  • 4,300 slot machines
  • 100 table games
  • Five restaurants
  • Six bars, including a center bar and sports bar
  • A players’ lounge

Once finished, Two Kings Casino Resort will hire almost 2,000 people. As Harris stated in the news release:

“This project will not only generate revenue for our tribe but also provide jobs, education and social programs that will benefit our members and the surrounding region.”

Harris also emphasized that increased patron traffic will create construction and other jobs, and provide local governments and the state with additional tax revenue and other investments under the compact.

While retail and online casino legislation in North Carolina is delayed, online sports betting went live in March with eight sports betting apps available.

In addition to Catawba Two Kings Casino, eligible North Carolina residents can visit two other retail sportsbooks: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. The Eastern Band of Cherokees in partnership with Caesars Entertainment operates these books.

The Catawba Nation has also applied for an online North Carolina sports betting license but has to find an operator to partner with.

Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
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Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

View all posts by Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

The Catawba Nation, a federally recognized tribe based in Rock Hill, South Carolina, announced that construction of its $700 million casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, will begin this week. Tribe leaders said construction on the new permanent casino resort in Kings Mountain, about 35 miles west of Charlotte and near the South Carolina border, would start on June 7, at 10 a.m.

The ground-breaking of Two Kings Casino had been postponed due to a lawsuit between the Catawba Nation and its former casino developer, Sky Boat Gaming, over the ground lease for its trust lands.

Reaching terms to go their separate ways, the two parties settled in May for an unknown amount.

Key takeaways

  • Tribal casino leaders said the project would include two phases to finish the permanent construction, with the first one expected to be complete in early 2026. The construction would also create nearly 2,000 jobs.
  • The tribe recently advertised for more workers after announcing it was adding table games to the temporary casino.
  • The Tar Heel State has failed to approve retail or NC online casinos but launched online sports betting earlier this year.

The tribe can build a North Carolina casino after finalizing a private settlement

The Catawba Nation, which has about 3,000 members, has run a temporary casino in Kings Mountain since 2021, offering over 1,000 slot machines, video table games, and a retail sportsbook. The tribe’s initial plan was to build a permanent destination resort within a year or two. However, the legal battle over the land’s ground lease has delayed the construction.

Last year, the Catawba Nation issued an official statement asking its development partner for its North Carolina casino to stop taking advantage of the tribe. The tribe requested Sky Boat Gaming to withdraw its demand of a $125 million payoff and accept a “fair exit deal.” That deal would have allowed the tribe to move on with the development of its $700 million permanent gaming and hotel location.

The private settlement wasn’t finalized until last month. The settlement with Sky Boat Gaming, which Wallace Cheves leads, removed the company from any interest in the casino project.

The tribe has now announced the ownership debate has ended. Financing is in place and the tribe can begin building the $700 million Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort. Brian Harris Catawba Nation Chief wrote in a news release:

“We persevered to achieve a fair deal so that we can now realize the full financial and economic benefits of the project for Catawba Nation members and residents of Cleveland County.

The establishment of this casino is not just about bricks and mortar; it symbolizes our commitment to preserving our tribal identity, supporting our community and creating opportunities for our people.”

What will the new North Carolina casino include?

The Catawba Nation will build Two Kings Casino with Delaware North, a global hospitality giant that has been the tribe’s consultant on the project since 2019.

As revealed, the permanent gaming facility will be a two-phase project. The resort’s first phase is expected to open in early 2026 and employ 420 people. It will include:

  • A single-story casino with 1,350 slots and electronic gaming machines
  • 12 table games
  • A 40-seat restaurant
  • A sportsbook with 30 self-service kiosks

The second phase will include a 400-room hotel. The final phase will increase the resort’s offering to:

  • 4,300 slot machines
  • 100 table games
  • Five restaurants
  • Six bars, including a center bar and sports bar
  • A players’ lounge

Once finished, Two Kings Casino Resort will hire almost 2,000 people. As Harris stated in the news release:

“This project will not only generate revenue for our tribe but also provide jobs, education and social programs that will benefit our members and the surrounding region.”

Harris also emphasized that increased patron traffic will create jobs, including construction jobs, and provide local governments and the state with additional tax revenue and other investments under the compact.

While North Carolina retail and online casino legislation is delayed, online sports betting went live in March with eight sports betting apps available.

In addition to Catawba Two Kings Casino, eligible North Carolina residents can visit two other retail sportsbooks, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, which are run by Eastern Band of Cherokees in partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

The Catawba Nation has also applied for an online North Carolina sports betting license but has to find an operator to partner with.

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