EBCI Holdings Looking to Add Two New Cherokee Casinos

North Carolina Flag
North Carolina’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are looking to add more casinos to their growing portfolio.

According to a report from The Cherokee One Feather, the EBCI Tribal Council held a special meeting last April 13th to take action on a plan by EBCI Holdings to bid on opportunities to build two out-of-state casinos.

Project Thoroughbred

During the meeting, the EBCI Tribal Council voted 8-2 in favor of EBCI Holdings making two casino bids, with Wolfetown Reps. Bill Taylor and Bo Crowe opposing it and Cherokee County/Snowbird Rep. Adam Wachacha and Big Cove rep. Teresa McCoy absent.

The said resolution discusses a “new business and investment opportunity” which was labeled as “Project Thoroughbred”. The project would require EBCI to make a “relatively modest” investment worth $25 million for an equity stake worth around 44% in expanded gaming interests.

If EBCI Holdings is adjudged a the winning bidder, it will make a deposit od $2.5 million from its own account then provide $25 million from it endowment and investment savings accounts, plus or minus 10%, all of which will be invested or contributed, directly or indirectly to the Project.

EBCI’s Expansion

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians established EBCI Holdings two years ago to help them expand their gaming operations via purchase of existing casinos and development of new ones. In August 2021, EBCI Holdings purchased Caesars Southern Indiana for $250 million, adding to its two Harrah’s casinos in North Carolina.

The April 13 resolution states that the project involves the building an owning of two new casinos but did not specify a revenue allocation plan. According to a report from The Feather, the Council could later vote to roll proceeds into per capita payments or designate them for some other use.

If EBCI is successful, their project comes at a time when Tribal gaming is one the rise. The first tribal-owned casino in Las Vegas in the revamped Palms Casino Resort. Meanwhile, a bill that would give Native American Tribes control of online sports betting in Maine is on the desk of Gov. Janet Mills.