Catawba Two Kings Casino is currently operating out of a temporary facility in Kings Mountain, N.C., but it will have a lasting impact on the local community in the future.
Two Kings is owned and operated by the Catawba Nation under the terms of its compact with the state of North Carolina. The temporary casino opened in the summer of 2021 with 500 gaming machines before subsequently expanding to 1,000. The temporary sportsbook opened in time for the 2022 NFL season. Two Kings is the third retail sportsbook to open in North Carolina, which has yet to legalize online sports betting.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee has been in operation since 1997. In 2015, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel opened for business in Murphy. Harrah’s recently released its 2022 Economic Impact Report. Both sportsbooks combined to have an estimated economic impact of $355 million on local communities in the Western part of North Carolina.
Two Kings obviously can’t claim to approach those figures during its nascent phase of operations, but it is making an impact on the local community just 32 miles west of Charlotte.
Work in Progress
Infrastructure work for the permanent casino resort is ongoing. The Catawba Nation has funded a pair of big projects to date including doubling the size of the Dixon School Road Bridge that’s situated over I-85 and close to the casino entrance. New sewer lines have also been added, but actual construction has yet to begin on the new facility.
“Plans for the full casino resort are being finalized and necessary agreements are undergoing a thorough review by the National Indian Gaming Commission,” Vice President of the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority Trent Troxel said. “A timetable for construction is anticipated to be announced later. It’s a large and complex development project, and we are continuing to work through it.”
Two Kings expects thousands of construction jobs to be added in the area once a timetable is announced. Company officials also estimate that 2,600 permanent jobs will be created at the full buildout of the permanent facility.
Two Kings’ Contributions to Cleveland County
Two Kings Casino officials estimated that 60% of their approximately 260 employees are residents of Cleveland County.
Two Kings aligned with Cleveland Community College to create training programs in gaming, security, and culinary services. Local college students will also be able to participate in an internship program that focuses on casino operations and management.
“Our Small Business Services Center at Cleveland Community College has been busy working with business owners and entrepreneurs that want to position themselves to work with the casino as it grows,” Cleveland County Business Development Director Jason Falls said.
As Two Kings celebrated its first anniversary last summer, its “Share Change” program was already making a difference in the community through local organizations. Customers have the ability to donate any change that remains on their slot vouchers through Share Change.
In its first year, the program raised $27,000 for groups including Hospice Cleveland County, Cleveland County Partnership for Children, Cleveland County Fund for Children and Adults with Disabilities, Children’s Home of Cleveland County, and the Mental Health Association of Cleveland County.