Catawba Indian Nation Given Green Light to Build $273m Casino

  • Catawba Indians have won federal approval to build a casino complex in Cleveland County
  • The Eastern Band of Cherokees will be taking legal action against this decision
  • The two tribes have a long-running feud with one another
Native Indian standing against sunset
The US Department of the Interior has given the green light for the Catawba Indians to build a $273m casino complex in Cleveland County, South Carolina. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Permission from federal government

The Catawba Indians have won approval from the federal government to proceed with plans to build a $273m casino complex in Cleveland County, an area that is just 35 miles away from Charlotte.

This approval was granted by the US Department of the Interior. The case centered on an agreement from 1993 that the Catawba Indian’s claim gives them the right to construct a casino in Cleveland County.

The South Carolina-based tribe can now build the casino complex on a 16-acre site it owns close to Interstate 85 after it was given a trust designation by the authorities.

Catawba Chief William “Bill” Harris spoke about the decision during a news conference on Friday, stating:

It’s a righting of a wrong. We have now regained what once belonged to us.”

Cherokees strongly opposed

The Eastern Band of Cherokees have owned a casino in the west of North Carolina since 1997. This tribe is taking legal action following the decision.

The tribe is arguing that the federal government does not have the authority for the right to allow this new reservation to go ahead across state lines.

It claims that this is Cherokee historical territory and that the Catawba tribe just wants to build a casino. A statement from the tribe said that this decision sets a dangerous precedent for all tribes. The two tribes have a long-running feud over money and land claims. 

Casino plans

The Catawba tribe plans to start work on this project before the end of the year. A study estimates that the $273m investment will boost the local area’s economy by as much as $428m each year.

More than 2,600 new jobs would be created, with around $5m paid in local tax revenue. The project will be financed by unidentified investors and Delaware North will operate the casino.