By Associated Press - Sunday, July 26, 2015

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - The chief of the Catawba Indian Nation said his tribe is negotiating with Hard Rock International to use the brand for a proposed casino in North Carolina.

Getting the right branding would be a significant advantage for his tribe, Chief Bill Harris said, noting that Hard Rock International operates two casino resorts for the Seminole tribe in Florida.

The Seminoles are the “gold standard” for tribal gambling operations and that the Catawba could be able to plug into that experience and benefit “from all the things they have already done,” Harris told The Herald of Rock Hill (https://bit.ly/1U0U3hn ).

The tribe discussed the possibility of working with Hard Rock during its economic development board meeting Thursday, Harris said.

Hard Rock officials told the newspaper it would not comment on any potential negotiations.



The South Carolina-based Catawba tribe wants to build a casino on land near Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory and other North Carolina officials oppose the casino.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates the only Indian casino in North Carolina which is Harrah’s Cherokee, located near the Tennessee border.

South Carolina lawmakers have fought a Catawba casino since the state settled with the tribe in 1993. As part of that settlement, the Catawbas agreed to not place itself under the part of federal law that regulates gambling operations by Indian tribes.

Harris said the Catawbas are working to create partnerships with many tribes, including the Seminoles. The Catawbas used Lumbee contractors from North Carolina to build its new Rock Hill bingo hall in 2014 and is talking to the Senecas of western New York about building a movie studio on Catawba Indian Nation land in eastern York County.

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Information from: The Herald, https://www.heraldonline.com

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