Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians To Maintain Casino Operations for Now In NC

The spread of the coronavirus within the United States has caused a wave of business closures across the nation. Casinos are shutting down to ensure the virus does not spread, as the gaming venues are considered hot spots due to high-touch points as well as home to large crowds of people. Despite major operators like MGM Resorts and Caesars announcing closures, gaming venues in North Carolina will continue offering services for now. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians stated that their casinos will continue to operate but with some changes.

Casinos Continuing to Function

The Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and the Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel are going to continue offering gaming services for now. This is a unique approach in this region as across the nation, considering the fact that state after state is announcing the closure of restaurants (except for takeout), bars, casinos and other entertainment venues.

According to the tribe, both casinos will continue to operate as normal. However, the Cherokee Casino Resort has closed down their Chef’s Stage Buffet. The casino also shutdown a major poker event due to the coronavirus. The World Series of Poker was set to host an event at the casino in April, but this stop has since been cancelled.

The venue will be holding another WSOP event in August and hope that players who were traveling to the region next month will do so in a few months to participate.

While the casinos will remain open, the schools, day cares and youth centers operated by the tribe will shut down. Mass gatherings are also to be avoided.

Is Staying Open a Good Idea?

It is really unclear as to why the casinos are staying open, especially when every other venues are shutting down. Over the past few weeks, casinos started taking more action to fight the spread of coronavirus. Venues around the nation began placing hand sanitizer in areas for the public and employees as well as more routine cleaning.

ATMS, slot machines and other high-touch areas were cleaned on a regular basis, even on the hour. However, as the coronavirus has spread quickly, we have now seen several states issues closures of casinos, among other businesses, for the next few weeks. The goal is to stop the spread of the virus before it becomes too much for the nation’s hospitals to handle.

It would not be surprising to see the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians decide to close their casinos in the foreseeable future. If not, they will most likely not see any traffic as players are choosing to stay home instead of going out into the public.

As the outbreak continues, we should see even more closings or moves made on a state and federal level in order to better protect citizens. A press conference later today by the federal government should see some type of changes made in regard to the outbreak.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.