Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel is getting ready for a massive upgrade in just over a year, a significant development for casinos in North Carolina.
According to Indian Gaming, the Valley River Harrahs casino in Murphy has broken ground on a $275 million expansion. Expected additions from construction include a 296-room hotel tower, a rooftop restaurant, and an additional 25,000 square feet on the gaming floor.
For the groundbreaking ceremony, a large number of VIPs took part. Some of those in attendance included Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Tommy Lambert, Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise Chairman, Lumpy Lambert, General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel, and Brooks Robinson, Regional Senior Vice President & General Manager.
The casino is operated by Caesars Entertainment.
Jobs Created by the Project
The massive expansion will create many jobs and offer another boost to the western North Carolina economy.
- 2,500 construction jobs
- 100 operational jobs upon opening
Harrah’s Valley River History
The facility opened on Sept. 28, 2015.
“Since opening day, we have continued to exceed all expectations set for us,” Lambert told Indian Gaming. “This will be our second expansion project since opening, with the first expansion completed back in 2017. We are grateful for our continued support and look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy new experiences in 2024.”
Details on Facility Upgrades
The new tower being built on the hotel side will allow the facility to double the number of guests that can stay. The new facility will include the following:
- Indoor pool
- fitness center
- Another 296 rooms
- Expanded valet services on the hotel side
- Larger lobby and check-in services, as well as added retail space
The gaming floor expansion will get a 50% increase in the square footage. Currently, the gaming floor is about 50,000 square feet and will be about 75,000 square upon construction completion. The new square footage will allow for additional gaming features.
- 12 new gaming tables
- Another 400 new slot machines
- 10-table poker room for the World Series of Poker
- An expanded (by 30 seats) motor coach room for bus travelers
- A 22-seat bar will be in the center of the gaming floor with 14 tabletop games. The bar will have eight beer taps, a lounge, and bar-top seating.
The new parking garage will allow for 1,700 new parking spaces, covered access to both the hotel and casino gaming floor, and will have six electric vehicle charging stations.
The two new dining options will be a rooftop terrace with mountain views, offering all three meals, and a 25-seat bar and wine cellar.
A new service will be offered for the first time at the Valley River casino. The spa will have six treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room, a relaxation lounge, and plunge pools.
Expected Project Completion
The project has an anticipated completion date for some time in 2024.
“We are thrilled to gather today to see this project commence,” Lambert said. “Completing this project will further enhance our guests’ experience and economic impact on the region. It will demonstrate our commitment to remaining a powerhouse in the entertainment industry across the enterprise.”
People are known to travel far and wide to visit both the Harrah’s casinos in Cherokee and Murphy. With so few regional casinos, people often cross over the mountain from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Force to visit the Cherokee casino. Others fly into Atlanta and take the two-hour drive just to visit the casino in Murphy. The expansion project can be seen as a sign that, especially since Covid, those visitors are frequent, and the expansion will fulfill the need for more room and services.
Valley River is home to one of three NC retail sportsbooks. If online casinos ever come to North Carolina, the facility would be a logical partner for an online relationship with its partner company, which would operate a Caesars online casino in North Carolina.