Catawba Nation to start construction on $700M casino project in Kings Mountain

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Catawba Nation is set to start construction on $700M casino project in Kings Mountain, creating nearly 2,000 jobs, tribal leaders said Friday.

The Catawba Nation resolved its dispute with developer Wallace Cheves over financial stake in the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain. The two sides reached a settlement this month, and they scheduled the groundbreaking ceremony for June 7, according to a Catawba Nation news release on Friday.

Phase one: The Catawba Nation has exciting plans in the works! They’ve announced that the first phase of their massive $700M casino project will open its doors in early 2026. This initial phase will feature an “introductory casino” that promises to be a gambler’s delight. It will house a vast array of 1,350 electronic gaming machines, along with 12 tables for classic casino games.

To complement the gaming action, there will be a cozy 40-seat restaurant for guests to fuel up and savor delicious meals. And for all the sports enthusiasts out there, the resort will boast a dedicated sportsbook area, allowing fans to place their bets and catch all the live sporting action. This is just the beginning, with more phases and amenities planned for the future. The Catawba Nation is certainly raising the stakes in the region’s entertainment landscape! Regulators scrutinized the partnership between the Catawbas and Cheves’ Sky Boat Gaming, stalling construction on the casino for years.

The Catawbas have operated a temporary, “pre-launch” facility in Kings Mountain with 1,000 gaming machines since 2021. The introductory casino will replace that facility once it opens and will employ 420 people.

The Catawbas did not disclose details of their settlement with Cheves’ Sky Boat Gaming. The Catawba Nation only said the deal removed Sky Boat “from any interest in the project.” Cheves’ company long assisted the Catawbas on the effort to open a casino in Kings Mountain. Last year, the two sides engaged in a public dispute over negotiations for a separation agreement to allow casino construction to move forward.

The tribe finalized a private settlement in early May with its former casino developer over the ground lease for its trust lands, allowing them to finally build the casino, officials said.

“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,” Catawba Nation Chief Brian Harris said in a news release.

The settlement with SkyBoat Gaming removed the firm from any interest in the casino project. SkyBoat helped the Catawbas acquire 17 acres in Kings Mountain and put it into a land trust for the casino project. In 2022, the National Indian Gaming Commission found that the development contract between the tribe and SkyBoat violated federal law. The gaming commission ruled that SkyBoat had too much ownership and authority over the project, which should benefit the roughly 3,000 Catawba members.

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Second Phase of Catawba Nation’s casino project in Kings Mountain

The Catawbas will build the second phase of the Kings Mountain project, which will include a 400-room hotel and the full casino complex. They will construct the casino to be around 2 million square feet and will feature 4,300 slot machines, 100 table games, five restaurants, six bars and a players’ lounge. The Catawbas say they will employ 2,200 people at the casino resort upon full buildout. They have not set a timetable for construction of the second phase.

The tribe completed two key projects needed for the permanent casino: They doubled the size of the Dixon School Road bridge over I-85 near the casino entrance and installed new sewer lines near the casino.

Once the National Indian Gaming Commission approves related contracts, Delaware North, a global hospitality and entertainment consultant, will develop and manage the casino resort, tribal officials said. Delaware North has consulted on the project since 2019.

SOSHNY Design, the architect for the casino project, designed many casino resorts, including Delaware North’s $320 million Southland Casino Hotel in West Memphis, Arkansas, officials said.

The Catawba Nation’s ambitious $700M casino project in Kings Mountain achieved a significant milestone in 2020 when they secured federal support to proceed with the casino development. Wasting no time, the Nation opened a pre-launch facility the following year at their site conveniently located off Exit 5 of Interstate 85, giving locals a taste of what’s to come. In 2022, they further expanded the offerings by unveiling a sportsbook, allowing sports enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the excitement of placing bets and witnessing the thrilling action unfold.


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