See inside: “Pre-launch” of Vegas-style casino opens in July

See inside: “Pre-launch” of Vegas-style casino opens in July

Buffalo Link was the most requested game at Two Kings Casino. Photos: Emma Way/Axios

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A 29,000-square-foot temporary casino with 500 slot machines will open in early July in Kings Mountain, about a 35-minute drive from Charlotte.

What’s happening: This is a baby step toward opening the long-awaited Two Kings Casino Resort, which the Catawba Indian Nation is developing. Before the 195,000-square-foot mixed use development is complete in 2022, this satellite casino will give visitors a preview of what’s to come.

Why it matters: Gambling is heavily restricted in North Carolina, and this will be Charlotte’s closest casino.

  • Farther out, the Cherokee tribe operates casinos in the far-western parts of the state.
  • Sports betting only became available in N.C. this year — after Gov. Cooper signed a bill legalizing it in 2019. Two Kings Casino will be one of a few venues with “sports books.”

Both this temporary facility and the eventual Vegas-style casino will generate revenue and jobs for the largely rural area of Cleveland County, the town of Kings Mountain and the Catawba tribe in North and South Carolina.

  • People form long lines on job fair days for a couple hundred jobs for this phase. Eventually, Two Kings Casino is expected to generate thousands of jobs.
  • “It’s going to change the lives of Catawbas today and Catawbas of the future,” Catawba Assistant Chief Jason Harris says.

By the numbers: The 14,700-square-foot gaming area of the temporary casino, also called the “pre-launch” casino, is built out of 29 modular trailers and holds 500 slot machines.

  • The completed casino, which costs an estimated $273 million, will add on another 1,300 slot machines as well as other table games like blackjack.

Food: In addition to an onsite bar, the pre-launch casino has an outdoor patio with rotating food trucks. Eventually it’ll have various restaurants and bars with a total of 940 seats.

Hours: It’s open 24/7. Casino general manager with Delaware North Chuck Kilroy says between 3 and 4am will be the best time to show up once it opens in early July. “We’re going to be very crowded,” he adds.

Flashback: The Catawba Nation entered into a compact with North Carolina’s government in January that would allow the tribe and the state to share revenues from the casino.

  • It had to then go through a 45-day review with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Catawba Chief Bill Harris received a letter on March 19 from the bureau saying everything looked good.

Here’s a look inside the temporary casino facility:

Snacks and drinks will be available here.

Behind this unassuming entrance is 500 slot machines.

Jason Harris, assistant chief of the Catawba tribe.

This plot of land will soon become a Vegas-style casino.

And here’s what the final casino will look like:

parking king's mountain casino charlotte

Renderings courtesy of Catawba Indian Nation & Delaware North

location of king's mountain casino

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"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way