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New $600 million Hard Rock Cafe
in Kings Mountain CA
With the growth of casinos and the popularity of casino games increasing every year, it is no surprise that a new $600 million Hard Rock cafe and casino in Kings Mountain is being negotiated by the Catawba Indian Nation. Hard Rock International already operates two hotel and casino complexes in Florida that are land owned by the Seminole tribe.

Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation is negotiating with the Hard Rock brand and has requested federal government for permission to purchase 16 acres of Kings Mountain Boulevard at interchange I-85. The Chief and many other leaders of the tribe have reportedly long considered the Hard Rock International brand as the gold standard for casinos. The new Hard Rock Casino could be beneficial to the area and is said to generate up to 5000 jobs during the build. However, South Carolina’s lawmakers have opposed the idea of a Catawba casino ever since the state’s settlement with the tribe in 1993 that agreed not to place itself under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The idea for a new casino in the Kings Mountain area has been circulating for the last year or so and Chief Bill Harris had said that the tribe was looking forward to partnerships with other Indian tribes. In addition to the new $600 million Hard Rock casino, the tribe also opened its Rock Hill bingo hall in 2014 and is also looking to open a new $350 million movie production studio on Catawba owned land. The tribe submitted a land-into-trust application in September 2013 to The Bureau of Indian Affairs and has not yet heard back, and will also need permission from the North Carolina government which is where the scepticism lies, with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory openly disagreeing with the idea of the complex.

If the plans do move forward, the facility would be 1.8million square foot in size and would need to employ between 4,000 and 5,000 people to help run it. The goal of the facility would be similar to that of the aims of Catawba Studios, which is to expand the Catawba Indian Nation brand worldwide while providing jobs not only to the tribal members but residents in the surrounding communities.

The public in the area seems to be in support of the casino with almost 2000 Kings Mountain residents signing a petition calling for the approval of the land-to-trust application. Nevertheless, one group in particular, the Kings Mountain Awareness Group (KMAG) has been making a lot of noise and has upwards of 1,700 members on its Facebook page. They believe that the proposed casino would be immoral and has the potential to damage the community. According to some members of the tribe, they believe that the complex would create several thousand jobs and generate $300 million in its first year as well as intending it to be an economic engine. Opposition groups however, believe that the casino would be ‘illegal’, however the tribe has rights as Indians to pursue economic development within their federally designated service area, and as casino gambling is completely legal in North Carolina the tribe has the right to fulfil their application.

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