By JONAH LOSSIAH
One Feather Staff
Thursday, March 18 will mark the grand opening of The Book in both the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Valley River Casino locations.
The ribbon cutting is set for 10 a.m. Thursday morning. This has come through a collaboration between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Caesars Entertainment, and William Hill, one of the leading sports betting companies in the America. This project has been a long time coming, with N.C. Senate Bill 126 being passed by state legislatures and signed by Governor Roy Cooper in July 2019. It has been a difficult process of negotiation since then, with discussions being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, in December 2020 the EBCI and Governor Cooper agreed to terms. At December’s Tribal Council meeting, emergency Res. No. 362 was passed, approving the compact between the Tribe and the State.
The ultimate goal was to set an opening day before the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, an annual 68-team spectacle which was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. ‘March Madness’ is renowned for its betting numbers, with the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimating that 47 million Americans will be taking bets on the tournament this year. The NCAA Basketball Tournament kicks off on Thursday, March 19.
“We are excited to offer legal sports betting at The Book, and just in time for March Madness,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed in his announcement on Wednesday.
“We would like to thank our partners at William Hill and Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos, as well as members of the state, for making this opening possible.”
The Book in Cherokee and Murphy will the first legal sports betting locations in North Carolina. Legal physical locations are something that are increases in the country. The AGA stated that ‘65.4 million more Americans in 13 new legal jurisdictions can safely place bets on March Madness this year compared to the 2019 tournament.’ Those statistics are an example of a growing trend in American sports betting.
“We are grateful for our relationship and partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and are ready for sports fans to join us at The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos,” said Brooks Robinson, Regional senior vice president & general manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos.
“We are proud to house North Carolina’s first sports betting venues and are confident that it will be an amenity our guests will enjoy.”
Descriptions of each The Book location were provided by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino:
‘The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort offers plush reclining chairs for viewing games, highlights and score tickers on the 90-foot ultrahigh-definition screen. Guests will have the option to place bets at one of the seven ticket-writer windows or from one of the ten self-service betting kiosks available. For a more private group viewing experience, guests of The Book can reserve one of the Fan Caves or seating in the Upper Deck. Full beverage service is also provided.’
‘The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel features a 32-foot, ultra-high- definition screen for viewing with plush reclining chairs and full beverage service. An additional lounge area can also be reserved for private viewing parties. Four ticket-writer windows and five self-services are available for guests to place bets.