Catawbas In Talks With Hard Rock

Officials of the Catawba Indian Nation, based in South Carolina, have been in talks with Hard Rock International about potentially branding the tribe's proposed $600 million casino-hotel in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Catawba Chief Bill Harris (l.) said associating with Hard Rock would enhance the project, economically and politically.

Bill Harris, chief of the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation, recently said the tribe is talking to Hard Rock International about branding its proposed casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Calling the Seminoles the “gold standard” of tribal gaming, Harris said the Catawbas could benefit “from all the things they have already done,” and that Seminole involvement “would be a gift” that would give the project a boost, economically and politically.

Owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hard Rock-themed casinos operate in ten locations worldwide, including Tampa, Hollywood and Immokalee, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Vancouver, British Columbia; Manchester, England and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The Catawbas have applied to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to place 16 acres in Kings Mountain into trust. If the tribe’s application is approved, it will move ahead with plans for a $600 million, 1.8 million square foot facility with a casino and hotel, employing up to 4,000 people.

Wallace Cheves of Sky Boat LLC, the tribe’s development partner in the proposed casino, said “multiple people worldwide” have inquired about branding the proposed Catawba casino.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and other state officials oppose the Catawba plan. Currently the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates the only casinos in the state, Harrah’s Cherokee near the Tennessee border and the Cherokee Valley River Casino near Murphy. The Cherokees are significant contributors to both Republican and Democratic politicians in North Carolina.