Gaming Bill Tentatively Passes House

May 31, 2012

A bill that would introduce Las Vegas-style live gambling to the Eastern Cherokee reservation has tentatively passed the House. Governor Bev Perdue struck a deal with leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, but lawmakers must change state law in order for the arrangement to move forward. Republican Thomas West is a sponsor of the bill.

Thomas West: What this bill would do it would create four hundred jobs in western North Carolina. We'd be replacing machines with live people at the casino. Those four hundred jobs are going to be 80 percent-82 percent filled by non-members of the tribe, meaning they will come off out of the surrounding counties in the western end of the state.

House Majority Leader Paul Stam opposes the measure, saying it grants the Cherokees unconstitutional privileges. The measure passed 66 to 49. The bill stipulates that lawmakers would have to approve opening more than three sites on the reservation.