By Scott McKie B.P.
One Feather staff
Alcohol has been sold at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for the past two months, but not on the gaming floor due to legal issues with the State of North Carolina. Those have been resolved and the property is ready for sales on the floor which are scheduled to start sometime this week.
“As a result of reviews by a North Carolina ABC Commission Attorney, N.C. Attorney General’s Office, and our own Commission attorney, it was concluded that that gambling and alcohol prohibition rule did not apply to the legal gaming conducted by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians via its federal authority and a State Tribal Gaming Compact,” said Bob Blankenship, chairman of the Tribal ABC Commission (TABCC). “This is the same conclusion that our Commission had developed and is further authorized by the Tribe in Ordinance 903. We just were very cautious on this issue, and now that all the authorities agree that we can proceed for on-floor sales, our Commission lifted its restriction on the gaming floor on Monday, Dec. 7 and simultaneously issued a new Tribal Permit for all Hotel and Facilities including the gaming floor.”
Blankenship said the TABCC rescinded a policy on Monday, Dec. 7, originally approved on Sept. 21, that prohibited alcohol sales on the floor “until at such time there is a clear understanding between the NCABC Commission and EBCI ABC Commission that such games are not in violation of NC Rule 04 NCAC 02S.0207.”
According to a TABCC document, the policy was rescinded “based on advisory opinion from NC ABC Commission dated Nov. 19, 2009; NC Attorney General’s Office advisory opinion dated Nov. 25, 2009; and TABCC Commission Attorney advisory dated Dec. 5, 2009, that NC ABC Rule 04 NACC 2S.0207 does not apply to Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino.”