Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino Breaks Ground on $275M Expansion
Posted on: September 30, 2022, 02:31h.
Last updated on: September 30, 2022, 03:53h.
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel has long played second fiddle to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, the tribe’s larger sister property in North Carolina. But Caesars Entertainment and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) are ready to pour more than a quarter of a billion dollars into the smaller tribal casino, located in the remote most western part of the state.
The tribe and Caesars, the latter of which operates both Harrah’s properties, held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Murphy, NC, resort to celebrate the commencement of the $275 million development. The investment includes expanding the casino floor by 25,000 square feet to add 400 slot machines, 12 table games, a 10-table World Series of Poker (WSOP) room, and a 22-seat bar with 14 tabletop gaming units.
The undertaking will also nearly double the number of hotel rooms at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, adding 296 additional guestrooms. The new hotel tower will also include an indoor pool and fitness center.
A new restaurant concept is in the works, as is a nearly 10,000-square-foot full-service spa and salon. Finally, 1,700 additional parking spaces, plus six electric charging stations, are planned.
Second Expansion Phase
First opened in 2015, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel came 18 years after the Eastern Band Cherokees opened their first casino — Harrah’s Cherokee — in 1997.
Valley River is just minutes north of the Georgia line and east of the Tennessee border. The casino resort is about 40 miles southwest of Harrah’s Cherokee.
The EBCI has exceeded expectations with its two casinos, largely because Georgia and Tennessee still don’t have commercial or tribal casinos. They are two of only eight states that can make that claim.
Though lawmakers in Georgia again considered legalizing casinos during their legislative session this year, the state’s General Assembly adjourned in April without action. With casinos remaining outlawed in the two neighboring states for the foreseeable future, the EBCI and Caesars are investing for the future with Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.
Since opening day, we have continued to exceed all expectations set for us,” said Tommy Lambert, chair of the EBCI’s Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise. “We are grateful for the continued support we have received and look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy new experiences.”
This is the second expansion for Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. The first, completed in 2017, added 41,000 square feet of non-gaming entertainment, including a bowling alley, arcade, and sports bar. That expansion cost $13 million.
Jobs Expand with Casino
Caesars says the $275 million build will create more than 2,500 construction jobs. Once completed, expected sometime in 2024, Harrah’s plans to bring in 100 additional team members to operate the resort’s new facilities.
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River expanded its gaming operations earlier this year with sports betting. Both ECBI casinos now offer Caesars Sportsbooks.
North Carolina’s Class III gaming compact with the tribe only permits in-person wagering. Legislative efforts to expand sports betting online are expected next year.
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