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The Catawba Nation has assumed full control of Two Kings Resort Casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, paving the way for future expansions of the site.

The tribe worked with gaming developer Sky Boat, LLC to build a temporary facility on the site after it was taken into trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2020. Sky Boat then operated the facility on behalf of the Catawba Nation until last week, when the tribe resumed full ownership of the land and parking lot surrounding the facility.

 The acquisition opens up new opportunities for growth, Chief Bill Harris said in a press release reported on by trade publication Casino News Press

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“This is a historic milestone for the Catawba Nation and our people,” Harris said. “We are grateful to Sky Boat for their partnership and support in launching the casino, and we are excited to take full ownership and control of our destiny.”

Planned growth for the casino includes a 2,000 seat event center, a spa, a pool, more gaming options, and a 400 room hotel tower. The tribe plans to break ground on expansions in 2024, with construction taking from two to three years, according to a Catawba representative speaking on background. The construction budget stands at $600 million, the representative said.  

When the completed Catawba Two Kings Casino opens, it will be the only tribal casino in North Carolina not owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee, the only fully federally recognized tribe in the state. The Catawba Nation lives on ancestral homelands in South Carolina. 

The Eastern Band operates two casinos on their tribal lands in Cherokee, NC. In 2020, the Eastern Band attempted to sue the Department of the Interior in a bid to stop the casino’s construction and operation, but requests for injunctions were initially dismissed. 

In November 2021, though, Congress advanced the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act, which was added to the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Biden. The legislation allowed the Interior to take the 17 acres of land into trust. 

Chief Harris told Casino News Press he believed both tribes had room to succeed in North Carolina’s gaming market. 

“We respect the sovereignty and the rights of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and we hope they will respect ours,” Harris said. “We believe that there is room for both of us to grow and prosper, and we are willing to work together for the benefit of our people and our state.”

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About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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