North Carolina Tribal Casinos

Tribal casinos have become a big deal in North Carolina’s gambling landscape. But this wouldn’t have been possible if not for the native American communities who settled in the land and got permission to start their gaming operations, which have now grown to be the tribal casinos we know today.

In this article, we’ll discuss the history of tribal casinos in North Carolina, sharing details about the tribes that govern them and the available tribal casinos that have stood the test of time. 

History of Tribal Gaming in North Carolina

North Carolina’s journey into tribal gambling is a story of resilience, as two great tribes, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Catawba Indian Nation, traveled to this ancestral land to establish profitable gaming operations.

Then in the 1980s, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) triggered a nationwide debate. This federal law recognized tribal sovereignty and allowed certain tribes to operate casinos on their lands if they satisfied certain requirements. 

In 1992, the Cherokees reached a landmark agreement with the state, paving the door for Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. This historic arrangement enabled the tribe to run high-stakes bingo on their territories.

The landscape of tribal gaming in North Carolina has continued to evolve. The compacts have been amended several times, expanding the types of games allowed and generating significant revenue for both tribes and the state. 

This revenue has been used to fund education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects, transforming the lives of tribal members and benefiting communities across the state.

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Tribal Casinos in North Carolina

Unlike other states, there are no online casinos in North Carolina. However, three tribal casinos in North Carolina offer safe gaming:

1. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

is located in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Catawba Indian Nation owns this popular casino. Recognized as the largest gaming floor in North Carolina with over 4,000 slot machines and 140+ table games, including high-limit areas, it caters to casual players and serious enthusiasts. 

Beyond gaming, the resort offers several entertainment options, from world-class shows and concerts to comedy acts and vibrant nightlife. 

Additionally, the resort features spa and wellness facilities, providing a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Location: 777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC 28719

2. Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino

is in Murphy, North Carolina. This casino provides another exciting gambling experience with slots, table games, and more. 

With over 2,500 slot machines and 80+ table games, this smaller-scale casino provides massive opportunities to try your luck in a more comfortable setting. 

Aside from the inviting games, the hotel boasts comfortable accommodations, inviting guests to unwind in spacious rooms while enjoying the river’s view.

Location: 777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, NC 28906

3. Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort 

Opened in July 2021, this modern casino is in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. It offers slots, table games, other gaming options, dining, accommodations, and live entertainment. 

Although new, this resort has a promising start with over 1,300 slot machines and 30 table games, with plans to expand shortly. 

Despite its present size, visitors can enjoy a variety of dishes, a good bar with many cocktails, and live music. The resort will become a dynamic gambling, dining, and entertainment destination in time as it develops.

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Location: 538 Kings Mountain Blvd, Kings Mountain, NC 28086

Casino Class Types

When discussing casinos, particularly in the United States, you’ll often encounter the term “class.” This categorizes the casinos based on the types of games they’re allowed to offer, primarily governed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Here’s a breakdown of the three main casino class types:

Class I:

  • These are traditional social games with minimal prizes, often held for ceremonial or communal purposes. 
  • Examples include stickball, chunking, and social bingo. 
  • The IGRA does not regulate class I games and can be offered freely by any tribe without restriction.

Class II:

  • This category focuses on bingo and non-banked card games.
  • Some examples include electronic bingo machines, pull-tab games, and games where players compete against each other, not the house.
  • Class II games are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and are subject to tribal-state compacts.

Class III: 

  • Class III games involve players betting against the house, creating the traditional casino experience. This is the most common type of casino, offering the widest range of games.
  • Some examples include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker, Slots, Table Games, and  Traditional slot machines. 
  • The IGRA regulates class III games which are primarily found in commercial casinos and some tribal casinos in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

  1. How many tribal casinos are in North Carolina?

There are three tribal casinos in North Carolina:

  1. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
  2. Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino
  3. Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort

2. Which U.S. state has the most tribal casinos?

Oklahoma. Oklahoma has about 113 tribal casinos, making it the state with the highest number of tribal casinos in the United States.

3. Which tribe has the biggest casino?

In North Carolina, the tribe with the biggest casino, measured by both gaming floor size and overall revenue, is the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.


North Carolina’s tribal casinos are pillars of entertainment and dynamic contributors to the state’s cultural and economic landscape. As the betting and gaming world continues to evolve, we expect these casinos to flourish in North Carolina and, perhaps, add more to their number.