Catawba Leaders Refute an NIGC Review of Two Kings Casino

The Catawba Nation Executive Committee responded to last Sunday's Wall Street Journal's publication about the Two Kings Casino. It released a statement saying that the tribe is fully committed to complying with South Carolina's and federal gaming laws.

The Nation's officials launched the tribal Nation's temporary casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, in 2021. The Executive Committee issued the statement on Thursday responding to an article about its delayed permanent casino project.

What Did the Article Entail?

The article concentrated on many people with links to various politicians and how they are connected to a firm that leased gaming equipment to Two Kings Casino, which is in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. It stated that the $273 million permanent casino's construction delay was because of an open investigation that the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) is conducting.

The Journal's report irked the Catawba Nation officials. They criticized media coverage for making a false conclusion that the NIGC was investigating some of their relatives and public officials.

The Nation's statement said that the NIGC is performing a standard investigation while reviewing its gaming operations and agreements. It added that the gaming commission is only focusing on whether the Nation is the sole owner of Two Kings Casino as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) requires.

The Temporary Casino Has Operated for Over a Year

The Catawba Nation opened its temporary casino last year. It occupies 17 acres in North Carolina, west of Charlotte.

The casino initially had 500 gaming machines, and it gradually increased them to 1,000 machines. The Nation announced in June that it wanted to establish a bookie at the temporary casino.

Still, its permanent casino is predicted to create 2,600 full-time jobs and over a thousand vacancies for construction. The Catawba Nation's previous announcements indicated that it would take a year to construct the casino, and it will hold 1,800 gaming machines.

The Executive Committee said that the Catawba Nation is collaborating with the NIGC as it reviews its casino project. The law requires it to follow each amendment or requirement that the commission will give it.

The Thorough Casino Review

The Catawba Nation had to change its plans and build a casino in North Carolina after South Carolina's officials denied it a Class III gaming license. But, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) opposed its plans and challenged it in a federal court. It runs two western North Carolina casinos.

Congress backed a defense spending bill in late 2021 that includes a provision that recognizes the 17 acres that the federal government took into trust. President Biden signed the bill into law ending the EBCI's efforts to sue the Catawba casino.

U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn sponsored the law discerning the Nation's land that was added to the defense bill. But, the Journal claims that John Clyburn, Clyburn's brother, has shares in the equipment firm. The lawmaker defended himself by saying that he didn't know about his brother's interest in the gaming site.

The Catawba Nation leaders defended themselves on Thursday, stating that the Department of Interior thoroughly reviewed its Two Kings Casino, and a federal court affirmed it. Also, Congress heard the legislation, and they followed federal Indian gaming laws.


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