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Casino Openings & Expansions: Cherokee Nation to open a second venue in North Carolina

13 September 2015

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina is doubling down on its hold in the Southeast.

On Sept. 28, the Cherokees will unveil Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel near Murphy, N.C., about one hour from the tribe’s other resort casino, Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.
 Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel will open Sept. 28.

Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel will open Sept. 28.


The new venue is one hour closer for guests in the key market of Atlanta and other parts of northern Georgia who routinely drive three hours to Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.

Additionally, Valley River is on the doorstep of East Tennessee, which is just 90 minutes from downtown Chattanooga.

“Our research identified 2.4 million Total Rewards card holders within 180 miles of Valley River who had not made a trip to our casino in Cherokee, so Valley River gives these guests a more convenient entertainment option,” Leeann Bridges, Regional Vice President of Marketing, told Casino City.

“We do expect a shift in our Cherokee business, as some guests make more frequent trips to Valley River. However, we have traditionally been constrained with our hotel inventory in Cherokee, running at 98% occupancy in our 1,108 rooms. We will be able to accommodate a diverse segment of guests in our hotel who have not been able to stay with us in the past.”

Like its sister casino, the $100 million resort will be managed by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. The seven-story hotel will offer 300 rooms, a 60,000 square-foot gaming floor, a 60-seat Diamond Lounge, retail shops and a five-outlet Food Market.

* * *

Just in time for football season, Island Resort & Casino, owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, opened the doors to a new sports bar, located just off the casino floor.

Named in honor of the late Tom McChesney — former long-time general manager of the resort and a distinguished military veteran — T. McC's has 31 TVs and 20 beers on tap. With an assortment of local sports teams' memorabilia adorning the walls, the new venue has full-service electronic gaming and an eclectic menu, including traditional and boneless chicken wings with a choice of 14 sauces and other favorites like jalapeno poppers, chicken quesadillas and burgers.

The new bar is part of a two-year, $8 million expansion that will also include a second championship golf course, a full-service spa, renovation of the current bingo hall and a redesign of the exterior hotel entrance. The expansion/renovation project comes four years after the completion of the $2 million Convention Center expansion and renovation project.

Currently, Island Resort & Casino, located two hours north of Green Bay, is home to the highly acclaimed Sweetgrass Golf Club, which has hosted a “Road to the LPGA” Symetra Tour event the last five years and has been ranked one of the top public courses in Michigan.

* * *

Horseshoe Casino - Cincinnati opened the Terrace Rooftop Bar on Labor Day Weekend. The 4,000-square-foot outdoor space sits on the second floor of the casino. Guests can sit amid fire pits on plush furniture with large-scale lamps and built-in heaters. There is also full entertainment schedule with the Cincinnati skyline serving as a backdrop.
 The Terrace Rooftop Bar at Horseshoe Casino offers skyline views.

The Terrace Rooftop Bar at Horseshoe Casino offers skyline views.


A mixture of unique LED lighting options illuminate the bar, which offers a wide selection of cigars, scotch and bourbon, including premium flights of Lagavulin, Macallan and Johnny Walker.

The Terrace Rooftop Bar opens at 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and is available for private events. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati is a $450 million development that opened in March 2013 in downtown Cincinnati with nearly 2,000 slot machines, 91 table games and a 31-table poker room.

* * *

Saratoga Casino and Raceway held a "topping out" ceremony on Sept. 1 for its hotel expansion. The event marked the project reaching its peak height, as the final piece of steel was erected to the top of the structure. Set to open in summer 2016, the $34 million, 123,000-square-foot hotel project that broke ground in late May will include an indoor pool, a fitness center, a lobby bar, meeting and banquet rooms, and a signature fine dining restaurant.

* * *

Less than two years after completing a $6 million refresh, SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia will open a $164 million expansion project later this year, increasing the gaming floor from approximately 50,000 to 85,000 square feet, allowing for 44 additional table games and 289 more slots.

In addition, a 28-table, 6,000-square-foot poker room will open on the north side of the casino and a 30,000-square-foot multipurpose event space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of the riverfront and the Ben Franklin Bridge will be added to the second floor.

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House will also be part of the expansion. The combined seating in the bar and dining rooms will accommodate more than 300 guests.

* * *

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast will add to its roster of opulent gaming properties when the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort opens later this year.

Set on the Back Bay of Biloxi, about three miles from Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and Hard Rock Casino Biloxi, the $300 million project will feature 300 guest rooms, a swimming pool and miniature golf course surrounded by lush gardens, waterfalls and footbridges. The 60,445-square-foot casino floor will offer 1,350 slots, 45 table games and a 10-table poker room.
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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT