Western North Carolina already is benefiting from Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel which opened in Murphy less than one year ago. The 0 million property, owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation, employs 1,007 people with a million overall annual payroll. About 3,000-6,000 visitors stop by each day. It offers 1,000 slots and 70 table games, plus five dining options and a 300-room hotel.
Paul Worley, economic and workforce development director for Tri-County Community College, said, “The job creation is a benefit we can already see. It is hard to measure some other things until we are a year into it but it has already brought jobs into the community. Traffic numbers are up in the area and we’ll know more about the exact figures once the casino has been open for a year.”
Jeremiah Wiggins, planning and analysis regional director for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, said, “Everything has been operating true to script in Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel. Seven months into the fiscal year, gaming revenue is within 1.9 percent of plan and cash flow to the tribe is within 0.3 percent. Admissions are above expectations and the hotel is near 100 percent occupancy.”
Wiggins added he expects annual gaming revenue and cash flow to finish “at or very near plan levels.” He said the summer travel season will “create a positive impact on the region through payroll expenditures as well as increased visitation and revenues for local businesses”.
Phylis Blackmon, executive director for the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, stated, “Since they opened our visitor center numbers have been up every month. I’ve been most encouraged that the number of employees has continued to go up. When it was first announced they talked about 800 employees and then it went to 900 and now it is over 1,000. Those are people getting a paycheck in our community.”