Government and business leaders in Cherokee County, located in southwestern North Carolina, recently held a series of meetings to discuss the economic impact of Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel, scheduled to open in Murphy next year. The 0 million casino, owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will create 900 construction, 900 permanent and 500 casino-related jobs in an area with an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent. The annual payroll is expected to be million. The Eastern Band also owns Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel in Cherokee.
Some area business owners believe the casino will solve the county’s economic issues. Jon Silver, owner of Corner Coffee Company in nearby Andrews, has doubts about that—but he said the business community needs to be ready to take advantage of the casino’s arrival, or nationwide chains will fill the gap.
Other owners are concerned that casino manager Caesars Entertainment offers dining and lodging on-site, encouraging guests not to leave the property. Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel will have a seven-story, 300-room hotel, a 24-hour café and a food court. The casino will offer about 1,200 slot machines and up to 70 table games.
Josh Carpenter, Cherokee County economic development director, said even so, the casino will increase demand for restaurants, hotels and housing for staff members—making now a good time to start a business in the county. The facility is expected to attract visitors from the suburbs of Atlanta, and Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee.