Eastern Band of Cherokees to Appeal Federal Ruling that Allowed Construction of Catawba Casino

North Carolina Flag
The Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indiana made an appeal last Friday contesting a federal ruling that allowed the Rock Hill-based Catawba Indian Nation to build a North Carolina casino.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Principal Chief Richard Sneed said that the tribe continues to believe that the U.S. Department of Interior violated the law in approving the Catawba casino. According to Sneed, the appeal is just “the next step in the process to ensure that justice is done”.

The Catawbas have started constructing a temporary gaming facility on the site and it is expected to open this fall. Eventually, the $273M Two Kings Casino resort will be build in the property and it is expected to create 2,600 jobs and bring an estimated $308M in economic activity.

The Cherokees’ Argument

The Cherokee have argued that there is no precedent for the federal government to take land into trust that isn’t connected to and is located across the state lines from existing tribal lands. Meanwhile, both the Cherokee and Catawba claimed that the property in question is located one their ancestral lands and that the other tribe has no claim over it.

In its case to state and federal representatives, the Cherokee Bank of Indians also stated that the planned Catawba casino would strike a big blow to their thriving casino business. The Cherokees estimated that the new Catawba casino would lead to a potential revenue loss of $100M per year.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are a federally-recognized Indian tribe based in West North Carolina. They own the only other casinos permitted by the state, with both casinos located in the North Carolina Mountains.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino operates west of Asheville, near Maggie Valley which is three hours west of Charlotte. Meanwhile, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino is near Georgia and Tennessee and is a four-hour drive from Charlotte.

New Madera Casino Project to Break Ground Next Month

Casino Floor

The construction of the new Madera casino along Highway 99 in the Fresno Area is expected to break ground next month.

According to Red Rocks Chief Financial Officer Stephen Cootey in an investor conference call last week:

“We continue to expect to have a shovel in the ground in the second quarter of 2021 with the construction expected to take 15 to 18 months.”

Red Rocks Resort, the parent company of the Las Vegas-based Station Casinos is partnering with the North Folk Mono Indian Tribe on the project.

A $400M Casino Project

The casino will be built on 305 acres adjacent to the highway between Avenue 17 and Avenue 18 in Madera county. According to its plans, the new Madera casino project will have 213,000 square feet of gaming area with 2,000 slot machines, 40 table games, two restaurants, and a “food hall” concept. The project will cost between $350M-$450M to complete, excluding any financial costs.

The “off reservation” Madera casino project was first proposed in 2003 and approved the the federal government and then Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011. A 2011 lawsuit filed by another California tribe derailed the the project of the North Folk tribe. The case reached the state Supreme Court and last August, the Court ruled to allow the project to move forward.

State Supreme Court Approval

The Madera casino project had a long-standing lawsuit as casino opponents challenged the Governor’s authority to approve two “off reservation” gaming projects in Madera and Yuba, claiming that legislative authorization was required. After two appeals court disagreed on the case, the State Supreme Court heard the case in 2017. Last year, the state’s highest court decided that then Gov. Brown acted within his authority when he concurred the the Madera and Yuba country casino projects.

There are currently three gaming properties within short drives of Madera. These are the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, Table Mountain Casino, and the Club One Casino. Many local residents are in favor of the new Madera casino project not only because it would be beneficial to the economy but also because it would give the other casinos good competition.

Gun Lake Casino in Michigan Unveils $300M Expansion

Man With Spyglass and a Gun Lake Casino Image
The Gun Lake Tribe announced on Monday a $300M expansion plan that will transform its property in Wayland, Michigan to a resort casino.

Gun Lake Casino is set to add 250,000 square feet of gaming that will extend the property west toward US – 131. The project is expected to begin after its current project is expected to complete late this summer.

Said Gun Lake Tribe chairman Bob Peters in a statement:

“We are proud of the continued growth of Gun Lake Casino which is directly connected to the outstanding effort of our team members. The tribe remains steadfastly committed to reinvest in our collective future, for the benefit of tribal citizens, team members and the local community. This will provide even more employment opportunities and enhance Gun Lake Casino’s position as a tourism driver for western Michigan.”

Biggest Expansion Ever

The Gun Lake Casino has undergone several expansions since it opened in 2011. The current $100M expansion that kicked off in 2019 involves a 72,000 square foot area where 450 additional slot machines, 12 new table games, and a larger non-smoking area inside the casino. However, the planned $300M expansion will be its largest ever.

The $300M expansion is expected to include a 250 room hotel with luxury suites, dining options, and a full service spa. The casino is also planning to recreate its version of a year-round island oasis with a glass-domed pool. Guests will be able to rent private cabanas by the pool during the day. At night, the place will have a night life public entertainment space with DJs, live music, and dancing.

Contributions to the Economy

According to a report released by the Tribe last February, the Gun Lake Casino has contributed more than $2.8B for the economy of the Wolverine State since its opening on February 20, 2011. In that report, the tribe says that they have already inverted a total of $415M in the casino while directly pays $502M in employee wages.

Nearby towns and cities also benefit from the operation of the Gun Lake Casino through revenue sharing which totaled $35M in the past decade that it has operated. Last December, it distributed a total of $5.7M to state and local governments, despite shutting down for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Catawba Indian Nation to Fast-Track North Carolina Casino Opening

North Carolina Flag
The Catawba Indian Nation announced on Friday that they will “fast track” the opening of part of its $273M North Carolina casino.

According to tribal leaders, a facility for a “pre-launch” will open this summer at their project site off Interstate 85 at Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain, about 35 miles west of Charlotte. The temporary site will have 500 slot machines.

The announcement came after the Catawba tribe received confirmation of the approval of their revenue-sharing agreement with the state.

Said Catawba Chief Bill Harris in a statement on Friday:

With the completion of our compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region. We’re working with Delaware North, our consultant on the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project, as well as our developer, Skyboat Gaming, to make that happen by opening what we are calling a ‘pre-launch’ facility this summer.”

Revenue Agreement Gets Federal Approval

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs concluded its 45-days review and approved the revenue sharing agreement that the Catawba Tribe forged with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in mid-January.

In a letter dated March 19th, Bureau of Internal Affairs director Darryl LaCounte informed the Catawba Tribe and Gov. Cooper that their pact complies with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and other provisions of the federal law. The approval takes effect when the approval notice has been published in the Federal Register.

The 17 acre North Carolina casino, which will be dubbed as Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort, is expected to create thousands of construction jobs. Once it is fully operational, state officials say that 2,600 permanent jobs will be generated.

Prelaunch Facility and Introductory Building

Harris said that the pre-launch facility will be made up of prefabricated modular structures and will offer limited food and beverage options plus other guest amenities. An introductory phase of the North Carolina casino is also planned and will feature and additional of 1,300 slot machines.

That “introductory” building will be part of the permanent structure that will form part of the full casino and will take one year of construction to complete. While this introductory phase building is under construction, the “pre-launch” facility which will open this summer will remain open.

Both the pre-launch facility and introductory building are expected to teach incoming staff while also accommodating people from the region who are anxious to start gaming as soon as possible.

Sahara Las Vegas and Grand Sierra To Pay $75K in Fines

Sahara Las Vegas Logo
The Sahara on the Las Vegas Strip and the Grand Sierra in Reno will pay $75,000 as a joint settlement for violating the state’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

According to settlement documents, the Los Angeles-based Meruelo Group, which owns both Sahara and Grand Sierra, did not “admit nor deny” the allegations. However, the Nevada casino operator agreed on the joint settlement because they believe that the Nevada Gaming Board “could meet its burden of proof if these matters were to proceed to the evidentiary hearing before the Commission.”

In a statement, the Meruelo Group said:

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests and team members and we will continue to work cooperatively with government agencies to meet these high standards and ensure compliance across our resorts.”

Various COVID-19 Related Violations

The Board filed a case against the Sahara Las Vegas last August, alleging that the resort hosted a July 23 luncheon event which was attended by an estimated 135 people. The state’s coronavirus guidelines permit Nevada casinos to host gatherings with a maximum of 50 people. Another case filed alleged that the hotel-casino allowed its customers to break social distancing rules at blackjack and craps tables last June 16.

On the other hand, a three-count case was filed against Grand Sierra last August 7th. In the complaint, Nevada regulators claimed that on three different occasions, state gaming agents witnessed guests not wearing masks inside the casino-hotel premises. The agents also said that casino officials and employees didn’t do anything to correct the practice.

Gaming Regulators File Complaints

Since Nevada casinos reopened last June 4th, gaming regulators have filed a total of six disciplinary complaints against Nevada casinos for COVID-19 related violations. Four of the cases have already been settled and were due for consideration on Thursday.

Bowl Incline in Lake Tahoe will pay $5,000 for not closing its bar top games on July 10. Slot operator Century Gaming is set to pay $15,000 for the same infraction involving Cheers Bar. Hotel Ely agreed to pay $15,000 after several employees were seen not wearing face masks. Meanwhile, the owners of the C.O.D. Casino also settled for a $30,000 payment for face mask violations.

Nevada casinos were allowed to open again last June with the state enforcing strict COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The restrictions include reduced occupancy, more space between gamblers, head count limit for meeting and convention spaces.

Cordish Launches PlayLive! Site in Pennsylvania

Maryland Live! Casino
Cordish Companies’ PlayLive! became the first branded internet gambling site to launch before its brick and mortar facilities have opened.

The online gambling business was launched on Monday, ahead of the opening of the company’s two casino projects in the Keystone State. Cordish’s Live!Casino Pittsburgh and Live!Casino Philadelphia are set to open in late 2020 and early 2021, respectively.

Said Cordish Gaming Group President Rob Norton:

“As a leader in the gaming industry, Cordish understands the importance of innovation and this site certainly illustrates our ability to enhance the traditional launch timeline of our new casino projects.”

Extensive Content

Developed in partnership with Game Account Network (GAN), PlayLive! has an extensive content of more than 100 gaming options, including classic slot games like Cleopatra, Crazy Money, Game King Video Poker, and Wheel of Fortune. It also carries popular titles like Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst, and Twin Spin.

Aside from online slots, PlayLive! Also offers interactive table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. Players are also allowed to join Jackpot games like Divine Fortune, Mercy of the Gods, and Wheel of Fortune Hawaiian Getaway. The leaderboards show the players’ current rankings, creating an extra level of excitement for gamblers.

All games have been configured in such a way that players will get the same experience online as they do when they are at Live! Casino floors. In celebration of its launch, PlayLive! is offering welcome bonuses and free spins.

Live!Rewards Enrollment

The site was also launched so that Pennsylvania residents can enroll ahead of time in the Live! Rewards® customer loyalty program,. The rewards will be used by customers when the Keystone State’s Live! Hotels become operational but it can also be used in all Live! Casino and Hotel properties in the United States.

The rewards program is free to join with all players receiving the red Classic Live! Rewards® Card. All card members accumulate points to enjoy a variety of benefits and perks on PlayLive! and Live! Casino and Hotels.

About Live! Casino and Hotels

Live! Casino and Hotels are owned and operated by companies affiliated to the Cordish Companies. The flagship property is located in the Baltimore/Washington DC area and it is the top tourist destination in Maryland with a AAA Four Diamond rating.

The soon to open Live! Casino and Hotel in Philadelphia is located in the Stadium Entertainment District of the city. It will feature 2,200 slots and games plus more than 150 live action table games. On the other hand, the second Live! Casino and Hotel is located in Westmoreland near Pittsburgh has over 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 750 slots and 30 live action table games.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission To Reconsider Roulette and Craps

MGM SpringfieldRoulette and Craps games may be coming back soon in the Bay State.

This development emerged after the  Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced that it will consider a request by by casinos to allow the restart of roulette and craps games which have not been permitted since the casinos were allowed to reopen early last month.

Reconsidering The Request

State regulators have been working with Encore and MGM on how the games can be played while maintaining social distancing between players and casino staff. The Commission is expected to  tackle the matter during a meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. via teleconference. 

In a statement last Tuesday, MGM said:

“We appreciate the Gaming Commission’s consideration of our request as we progress through a phased reopening with the health and safety of our employees and guests at the forefront of any decisions.”

MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor have asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to allow roulette and craps games at their establishments. The two are the only casinos in the state that offer table games. Despite the absence of roulette, craps, and poker, the casinos in Massachusetts have been able to handle the reopening well.

Massachusetts casinos were ordered closed by the state since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have since been allowed to re-open but subject to the strict guidelines set by the Gaming Commission. The guidelines have not permitted casinos to offer roulette, craps, and poker games.

Re-Opening Guidelines

The re-opening guidelines have resulted in the gambling establishments reopening with an estimated one-third of their pre-COVID 19 capacities. The Commission’s guidelines include plexiglass dividers, spacing requirements, wearing of masks when not outdoors, eating, or drinking, and other health safety precautions.

The guidelines also called on the casinos to disable some of their slot machines and remove chairs in order to keep their guests separated. The distance required was four feet apart if there is a plexiglass and six feet apart if none. The table games that were allowed were restricted to three players per table.

Food service has also been limited to designated areas and they are allowed to operate according to the state rules for restaurants. Casinos were also told to consider non-contact temperature checks and prohibiting entry to any guest who registered 100.4 or higher on two consecutive checks.

MGM Springfield reopened over the weekend of July 10-13 after four months of closure. Encore and Plainridge Park reopened several days earlier. Plainridge is a slots parlor that does not offer table games. In Springfield, that meant 919 gaming positions from 810 slot machines and 90 seats at table games. MGM later expanded its offerings to 855 slot machines while still maintaining social distancing.

Red Rake Gaming Launches New Online Slot Game

Slots, slots, and more slots! They just keep on coming, and I have no complaints at all. Just yesterday I talked about NetEnt launching a new slot, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep up with them all at this point.

To start this week off, we have a game called Secrets of the Temple courtesy of Red Rake Gaming. We’re going to go over a few details about this game and what Red Rake Gaming is all about.

Let’s get into it!

About Red Rake Gaming

Red Rake Gaming has been around making online slot games since 2011. Starting out, they only worked with social casinos. However, back in 2015, they started to branch out into the real money casino market.

They have a team of about 40 people that all work together in order to produce high-quality slot games. Even now, they are working to create more games for all of us to enjoy.

About Secrets of the Temple

Secret of the Temple Slot Game

Secrets of the Temple is the newest slot game added to the library of Red Rake gaming. When starting this game, you will be partnered up with an archeologist to go on an adventure through a rainforest. In this rainforest, you will find a vast amount of symbols, ranging from wild symbols, multipliers, and you’ll even find a few surprises along the way!

Right off the bat, when you start this game, you’re greeted with the scene of an ancient temple inside of a rainforest. The visuals of the reels and the nature sound effects will have you coming back for more and more!

You’ll find reels of your archeologist, planes, maps, ancient ruins, compasses, and more! My only question is, what are you waiting for?

Game Details

  • 5×3 reel
  • Over 240 ways to win
  • Secret minigame with varying jackpots
  • Secret symbols that unlock grand jackpots
  • Ability to stack wild symbols to gain multipliers
  • Mobile compatible

Wrap Up

New games are going to continue to flood the market. Secrets of the Temple is just another stunning innovation of where game developers can take video slots these days.

Be sure to check back often to get all the latest casino gaming related news here at BestUSCasinos.org.

NetEnt Launches Brand New Ape Themed Jungle Slot Game

Welcome to the planet of the …slots? That’s right! NetEnt has just dropped a brand new gorilla themed slot game as of today for us to enjoy.

If you have ever wanted to experience the thrill of traveling through the jungle, with a gorilla chasing after you, now you can! Minus the gorilla chasing you, though.

We’re going to dive into a few details about NetEnt and what this new real money slot game entails.

Let’s check it out!

Gorilla Kingdom – Newest Online Slot Game

Gorilla Kingdom Slot Game on Computer and Mobile Devices

Gorilla Kingdom sends you to a jungle world filled with apes and wonderful features. You will have over 1,000 different ways to bet with gameplay that offers free spins and much more!

This is a 5-reel slot with four panels, and also has a surprise twist. There are totem poles on each side of the reels. These totem poles will fill up every time you get a free spin by collecting gorilla masks.

Some of the animals that you will see on the reels are:

  • Leopards
  • Hornbills
  • Okapis
  • Pangolins

When an animal line is completely filled with gorilla masks, that animal turns itself into a gorilla, and that can give you a massive payout and the chance at free spins! If you can fill all 24 slots of the totem poles, every animal on the screen turns into gorillas, which gives players even more opportunities to win big!

Who is NetEnt?

NetEnt is an online slot and casino game provider based out of Sweden. They have many different games they offer, including a massive slot game library.

NetEnt is best known for its slots, so naturally, they put out new games regularly. I’ve put out a few news posts recently about new slot games, and all of them have included at least one NetEnt title.

They also as of last year acquired Red Tiger gaming, so any games you see that are provided by Red Tiger are now owned by NetEnt as well.

Wrap Up

Be on the lookout for new slot games courtesy of NetEnt. I will do my best to bring you all the up to date news that you need when new slot games drop. Whether they are from NetEnt or any of the other great slot providers out there, I will try and keep you covered!

Newest Slot Games to Hit the Online Casino Libraries

Slot Machines in a Row

Alright, all you slot enthusiasts, let’s talk about all the newest slots that just dropped! We’ll go over a few of the brands that have just launched new games, what the games are, and a little bit of information about them.

If you’re not a slots fan, maybe you will be after this! If you’re stuck at home bored right now looking for something to do, real money slots are a great way to pass the time. These software providers are launching games now more than ever to help everyone out there fight boredom during this national pandemic.

Even if you aren’t looking to spend money, almost all of these casinos will offer free versions of there games that you can enjoy. I don’t personally see much point in playing slots without the thrill of money on the line but to each their own. 

Anyways, let’s get to the new slots!

Hellcatraz by Relax Gaming

Hellcatraz Online Slot Machine
Go back in time back to the ‘80s when video games were all 8-bit, and people still wore leg warmers with Hellcatraz. This new online slot courtesy of Relax Gaming can help you do just that, relax. The soundtrack to this game is almost nostalgic, and the graphics take you back to a simpler time.

About the Game

In this game, you can switch between two different modes, played on a 6×6 grid. You have mystery symbols that will appear with every spin, which turns into a pre-designated symbol after a certain number of spins.

There are also free spins that can be acquired by collecting keys throughout the game. And you can even win additional spins if you get the golden mystery symbol. 

The Wild Hatter by Red Tiger

The Wild Hatter Online Slot Machine
Definitely not a bad rip off of the mad hatter tea party, actually quite the opposite! I wouldn’t call this a rip off at all, this game is a refreshing tastefully done inspired slot game that is very enjoyable to play. 

You can sit back, win some money, and relive some great characters throughout the literary world all at the same time!

About the Game

This is a 5×4 grid, 30 payline slot game encased in a gold and mushroom-filled frame. The reels all contain different characters from the mad hatter tea party, accompanied by a soundtrack you’ll want on repeat.

You have free spins available by triggered from the wilds, which will lock down one symbol type. This gives you higher multipliers and respins to enjoy!

Bronco Spirit by Pragmatic Play

Bronco Spirit Online Slot Machine
Bronco spirit is a great game to give you a little country-western escape if you’re into that. The visuals and soundtrack transport you to a different world entirely.

About the Game

This game has a whopping 75 payline on a 5×4 grid. You have a free spin option that will allow you to pick your volatility and choose spins that have less wild symbols or more wild symbols with fewer pins.

Melissa Summerfield, Commercial Officer of Pragmatic Play, had this to say:

“We have seen plenty of appetite for our western-themed games, and Bronco Spirit is another title where players hop on to their trusty stallion and race across the dusty plains in search of big wins.”

The Wrap Up

These are just some of the games that we wanted to highlight this week! Be sure to continue to check back for more of my news posts and all the news our team here puts together at BestUSCasinos.org. 

Stay safe everyone and good luck!