The first casino in the Charlotte region has introduced games of chance to Queen City and attracted thousands of tourists. According to casino personnel, the casino has attracted around 40,000 players since its debut in early July. However, the new casino and its 500 slot machines are just a part of the whole picture. Catawba Nation residents expect that the project would also produce generational riches.
The Catawba Two Kings Casino, located I-85 near Kings Mountain, is pretty extensive for a “pre-launch facility” and has 500 slot machines, a bar, and a restaurant area. On a weekday afternoon when Spectrum News 1 was at the facility, the parking lot was reported to be mainly full.
Catawba Chief Bill Harris said that with the completion of the compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is keen on opening casinos soon to bring in economic benefits. The Chief’s remark was foreshadowing. The Two Kings Casino, four months later, successfully employs around 250 individuals, including 34 Catawba Nation members.
According to a March news release from the Nation, they aim to increase staff strength to 2,600 as the project continues. They also expect to generate employment when the building is constructed.
According to the same press release, the existing, temporary building is phase one of a $273 million casino that will eventually be built. There will be a larger permanent casino that can accommodate 1,300 gaming machines. The 1,300-machine facility will ultimately become a permanent feature of the casino. According to the press release, it would take a year to build the 1,300 machine facility.
For the Catawba Nation, the Catawba Two Kings Casino is a remedy for historical injustice. It symbolizes a promising future and a restored connection between the Catawba Nation and the numerous communities that now reside on Catawba ancestral grounds, including Cleveland County, Kings Mountain, and the state of North Carolina.
According to Catawba Nation, over 3,500 members have enrolled as its residents, and it is the tribe in South Carolina that has been federally recognized.
Data from the United States Census Bureau reveals that the poverty rate on Catawba Nation tribal grounds in the Rock Hill region is 21%. Compared to a 13% poverty rate in the Carolinas, this figure is several percentage points higher. The Catawba Nation has a family poverty rate of about 15%.
Trent Troxel of Catawba Nation feels that new casinos opening up in the region will bring a massive change in the economic state of the tribe.