Negotiations over expanding games at the Cherokee Indian casino in western North Carolina have grown more complicated as Gov. Beverly Perdue and legislative leaders question a tribe proposal that gives the state a cut of new gambling profits and lays out the tribe's exclusive marketing territory.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the governor are trying to rework their current gambling compact to allow the tribe to go beyond current video-based games and offer games featuring live poker and blackjack dealers. The proposal could bring 400 additional jobs to the Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel on the tribe's reservation and boost the region's economy by attracting more visitors.
A proposal drafted by the tribe, obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request to Perdue's office, shows it wants to be identified as the exclusive gaming operator in North Carolina west of Interstate 95, excluding the counties where I-95 is located.
In exchange, the Oct. 14 draft says, Eastern Band leaders also have offered the state 8.5 percent of the gross revenues from new table games and up to the same percentage for similar new games should the tribe operate new casinos on its lands in five western counties. A Perdue attorney suggested in August that the state receive a portion of all gambling revenues, not just from the live games. The state currently receives no cut of gambling revenues.
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