The National Indian Gaming Commission cited the Catawba Two Kings Casino, saying the casino broke federal law when it did not get approval for its management contract.
The casino, about 30 miles west of Charlotte, opened in a temporary building in July 2021. The casino has 1,000 slot machines and electronic table games. The eventual goal is to open a Las Vegas-style casino resort just off Interstate 85 in Cleveland County.
The Gaming Commission issued its notice of violation after a yearlong investigation into the business agreements for operating the casino.
“Based on an exhaustive investigation and analysis of the circumstances, we issued a Notice of Violation to both enforce regulatory compliance and ensure the Nation is the primary beneficiary of its gaming revenue,” said commission Chair Sequoyah Simermeyer.
“We do not take this enforcement action lightly, but do so to preserve the integrity of the industry and protect the valuable tool Indian Gaming represents for many Tribes as codified in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” Simermeyer said.
The Gaming Commission found the casino signed an agreement with a company called Sky Boat to help manage expanding the gambling operation, but did not submit the contract to the commission for approval.
“The Nation, Sky Boat, and Sky Boat’s owners, officials, managers, and consultant could face civil penalties not to exceed $57,527 per day for each violation and the Nation’s gaming operation could be subject to a temporary closure order,” the commission said in a statement Wednesday.
The daily fine would be set by the commission chair after the tribe has a change to respond.
“The issues don’t involve current casino operations,” Catawba Nation Chief Bill Harris said in a statement to Spectrum News 1.
“The Catawba Nation is committed to resolving the issues cited by the National Indian Gaming Commission regarding the lease agreements for our casino resort project with Sky Boat Partners,” he said.
The Catawba Nation has 30 days to appeal the notice of violation with the Gaming Commission.
The Gaming Commission warned the Catawba Nation several times over the last two years about the need to get its management contract approved, according to the notice of violation. The notice directs the Catawba Nation and Sky Boat to stop working under the contract and not make any more payments.
The Catawba Nation has a temporary 30,000-square-foot casino that started operating in July 2021. It’s a red, single-story building surrounded by a large parking lot. Inside, there are rows of slot machines and other gaming machines.
The plan is to eventually build a full casino resort at the site. The timetable and specifics about the resort are still unclear. The Catawba Nation has said it envisions a 195,000-square foot complex, complete with gaming machines and table games. The Catawba are also planning a 1,500-room hotel for the site.
“Plans for the full casino resort are being finalized and necessary agreements are undergoing a thorough review by the National Indian Gaming Commission,” Trent Troxel, vice president of the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority, said earlier this year. “A timetable for construction is anticipated to be announced later."