A bill signed into law by President Joe Biden ends the legal challenge the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) filed against the federal government.
US.- The Catawba Nation Indian Nation Lands Act, included in the National Defence Authorisation Act, has been signed into law by US President Joe Biden.
Catawba Chief William Harris called the bill “the final step in a decades-long fight” to receive federal backing for the casino.
The future of the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain, which already opened its temporary facility six months ago, was uncertain because of challenges to the Catawba’s claim on the land where the casino sits. Construction of the permanent venue is ongoing.
The Catawba Indian Nation will oversee the $273m Catawba Two Kings Casino with plans for 2,600 permanent jobs and revenues for the tribe. No opening date has yet been set.
The passage of the bill is a setback for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which operates two casinos in far western North Carolina. The competing tribe sued the Catawba and the Interior Department in federal court last year to try to stop the Kings Mountain casino, but a federal judge sided with the Catawba.
“The courts have been reviewing the legality of the Catawba casino, but this legislation will end that process,” said Richard Sneed, the Eastern Band’s principal chief, in a statement, according to The Herald Sun.
“We are disappointed to not be granted the ability to defend our position in the courtroom,” he added.
Two Kings Casino Resort expansion
In December, six months after opening a temporary 500-slot gaming facility at Two Kings Casino Resort in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, the Catawba Nation expanded its offering.
The tribal casino launched its expansion after adding 500 gaming machines, including electronic table games offering blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat.
Mike Ulizio, president of the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority, said when announcing the expansion: “With the overwhelming success of the Catawba Two Kings Casino’s pre-launch facility since opening, it makes sense to work as quickly as possible to provide additional gaming opportunities for our patrons across the Charlotte region.”
Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain has been operating a pre-launch facility since July with only 500 slot machines. It will now feature 1,000. It’s the first phase of the planned $273m Two Kings Casino Resort.
The venue is located about 35 miles west of Charlotte. Work on a larger permanent casino building is scheduled to begin soon on already cleared land near the current facility. It’s expected to take about a year to finish, according to the project consultant, Delaware North.