According to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s office, the Cherokee Tribe’s main argument for the change is the creation of new jobs, since the casino is now limited to slots-style video gambling machines and electronic table card games. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are the state’s only federally recognized tribe, which gives them the exclusive right to operate a casino under federal law. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is currently developing a $650 million expansion project that includes a third hotel tower with VIP rooms for high-rollers, a 3,000-seat event center, and a revamped gaming floor with enough space to accommodate several table games.
Negotiations for live dealers and table games began in 2006 when the Cherokee tribe argued that live games of poker, craps and blackjack could add 430 jobs and a payroll of more than $15 million. Negotiations stalled last year when a video poker company brought suit against the state, claiming that the governor had no legal right to negotiate with the tribe for increased gaming freedom. Now the issue is likely to be taken up by the North Carolina Legislature, which is expected to return to Raleigh later this month.