Betting on Western North Carolina: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort’s Regional Impacts

Journal Article

Abstract The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ (EBCI) launch of the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on their Qualla Boundary homeland marked the beginning of a new and flourishing industry for western North Carolina. But many who lived in the region worried about the questionable long-term success of such a large gaming enterprise, along with the impacts on employment and the potential social impacts (gambling, substance abuse, etc.). With the Cherokee Casino’s twentieth anniversary being celebrated in 2017, a full picture of the casino’s impacts can now be evaluated, including a reassessment of these initial concerns. This article examines the casino’s distinct contemporary impacts, including the substantial economic gains for the region; specific effects for the Qualla Boundary; regional infrastructure upgrades; and the recent emergence of surprising results from social impact studies. In addition to the gaming enterprise’s measurable effects, this article also foregrounds how these endeavors play a crucial role in the ability of the EBCI to provide for its citizens through the increased exercise of their inherent sovereignty. Finally, in addressing these outcomes, this article also introduces the EBCI’s 2015 installation of a second casino in Murphy, North Carolina: the Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lewis, C

Published Date

  • April 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 29 - 52

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2328-8612

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1082-7161

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.5406/jappastud.23.1.0029


  • en