|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
|Location||Cherokee, North Carolina
|Address||777 Casino Drive|
|Opening date||November 1997|
|Number of rooms||1,108 rooms, 107 suites|
|Notable restaurants||Brio Tuscan Gille
Dunkin Donuts Express
Chef's Stage Buffet
Selu Graden Cafe
Winning Streaks Deli
|Casino type||Indian casino|
|Owner||Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians|
|Operating license holder||Caesars Entertainment|
|Previous names||Cherokee Tribal Casino|
Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort is a casino and hotel on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina. It is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and operated by Caesars Entertainment. It is located on the site of the former Frontier Land theme park. It is the only casino in North Carolina. A sister property, Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino is under construction in Cherokee County, scheduled to open in summer of 2015.
Harrah's Cherokee opened in November 1997 with only video poker. This followed the opening of a tribal bingo parlor in the early 1990s, which was quite profitable and led to calls for a casino. The casino came after several years of discord between the State of North Carolina and the Eastern Cherokees. Governor Jim Hunt resisted the casino, but the state was forced to enter into an agreement with tribal authorities by the federal courts. Since then, the tribe has used its casino revenues to build a new high school, a hospital, and public housing, and to upgrade public safety services on the reservation, such as police, fire and EMS. Part of the casino's revenue is also distributed directly to the Cherokee population, in a form of basic income. The casino is also credited with opening the door for gambling in North Carolina, which was the only state in the region not to have a lottery. The casino also heralded a relaxation of alcohol laws in the area, with liquor-by-the-drink being legalized in nearby Bryson City, Sylva, and Cherokee itself.
Since the tribe's compact with North Carolina restricts the types of gaming permitted, most of the games offered have significant differences with those found in other casinos. The compact with North Carolina requires games to have an element of skill. For most of the video slot machines, this means that after an initial spin of the reels, the player is allowed to lock selected reels in place and spin again, holding reels with valuable symbols in hopes of matching them up with winning symbols on the second spin. (This differs from "regular" slot machines, in which the reels usually spin only once after credits are played, although video poker everywhere allows players to hold cards before the second spin.)
The casino now has converted many of their slot machines to "Cherokee Raffle Reels," which require the player to insert their Total Rewards slot card into the machine before playing. This raffle entry is considered to be the second chance to win required by law, and has allowed the casino to phase out many of the "lock-and-roll" style machines for traditional video and reel slot machines.
The tribe reached an agreement with the state on November 25, 2011, to allow live cards at Harrah's Cherokee. The casino began introducing live table games in 2012. As of summer 2014, there are over 100 table games.
The casino has a poker room with 10 tables.
On June 5, 2009, alcohol sales at the casino were approved by the tribe. Alcohol is served from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon until 2 a.m. on Sunday. The first glass of alcohol was served on December 29, 2009, at 5 p.m. Other than the casino, there are no bars in the city of Cherokee.
Harrah's Cherokee has three hotel towers (Creek Tower, Soco Tower, and the Mountain Tower) with a total of 1,108 rooms, making Harrah's Cherokee the largest hotel in North Carolina.
The Harrah's Cherokee complex includes a 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) conference center, a 3,000-seat events center, a pool, the Essence Lounge, an arcade, a workout room, a lobby cafe, and a food court with four restaurants, Chef's Stage Buffet, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and BRIO Tuscan Grille. One of the original restaurants at Harrah's Cherokee was Paula Deen's Kitchen. The restaurant closed shortly after Paula Deen was removed from the Food Network.
- "Raffle Reels at Harrah's Cherokee. North Carolina poker, Casino Games, Table Games, Casino Gambling, Slots and more". Harrahs.com. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Cherokee casino gets card dealers". Asheville Citizen Times. November 28, 2011.
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- "Cherokee casino's Paula Deen restaurant to get new name". Fox Carolina. Retrieved 2013-06-23.