Class 2 & 3 Cherokee Casinos in North Carolina & Oklahoma
Cherokee tribal class 2 & 3 casinos in North Carolina & Oklahoma have proved to be economic engines for local economies in both states. The rules that Cherokee Indian tribal casinos must operate under can vary widely from state to state & even from tribe to tribe. Harrahs Casino in Cherokee North Carolina is the name of the existing class 3 casino operated by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. The class 3 designation was the result of many years of negotiation and compromise between state of North Carolina officials and Cherokee Eastern Band tribal leaders.
In Oklahoma, the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians has built a long standing customer base since they first opened in the mid 1980s. The Keetoowah Cherokee Casino in Oklahoma offered Bingo only at its inception and over time has added electronic gaming machines & table games. The tribe has about 600 machines in its class 2 operation which produces an estimated $120 million yearly economic impact in eastern Oklahoma. The Keetoowah Cherokee Casino pays no taxes to the state of Oklahoma because of the lack of an extended agreement. State governments will sometimes negotiate with Cherokee Indian tribal leaders to offer more extensive gaming options to the tribe in exchange for taxing gambling revenues. The Keetoowah Cherokee Casinos class 2 machines are preprogrammed and are referred by some as “virtual lottery terminals”.
Harrahs Cherokee Casinos in North Carolina offer class 3 slot machines which feature a random number generator and are the kind of slot machines located in Las Vegas & Atlantic City casinos. Harrahs is believed to be the frontrunner to operate additional proposed class 3 casinos that will be located in Cherokee County NC between the towns of Marble and Murphy North Carolina.
Several Cherokee tribes have run class 3 casinos in Oklahoma for years including the Tahlequah Cherokee Casino. The Tahlequah Cherokee Indians reached an agreement with state of Oklahoma officials about 10 years ago which allows class 3 gaming in exchange for paying Oklahoma 5 -7 percent of casino revenues. The class 3 machines are viewed by Tahlequah Cherokee casino tribal management as offering more of an element of chance than the class 2 machines.
Keetoowah Cherokee Casino in Oklahoma officials commented on extensive regulation, audits and mandatory twice yearly software & mechanical testing of the slot machines. Independent testing facilities confirm the accuracy of the programming. The Keetoowah Cherokee gaming commission adjudicates all gambling disputes in the tribal casino because of the lack of a state agreement. Class 3 operations like Harrahs Cherokee Casinos in North Carolina would have disputes looked into by the North Carolina Attorney General’s office as part of the agreement with the state.