North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue on June 6 signed a law that allows the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which owns Harrah’s Cherokee near Asheville, to use live dealers.
The law, which needs U.S. Department of Interior approval before taking effect, will allow the casino to offer live-dealt table games and poker. The casino has been limited to electronic games.
The tribe also has permission to build two casinos elsewhere in western North Carolina. Ante Up interviewed Brooks Robinson, senior vice-president and general manager at Harrah’s Cherokee, to discuss what this means to the property and poker.
When will live play officially start at Cherokee? The first week of August or possibly the second week.
How many dealers will be hired for table games? About 300-400.
How many tables will be live vs. digital? (There will be) 120 games on the floor, including poker, 25-35 of the games will remain digital.
When will the new poker room be open and will it be all live or what will the percentage of live vs. digital be? June 19 the new room will open and at first will all be digital with 15 games. Up to 20 tables will be in the new poker room.
How many tables will the new poker room have? There will be 20.
Will Cherokee host a World Series of Poker Circuit event with live dealers? (It’s) in the plan.
When could we see such an event? We’re looking forward to doing a live dealer event as soon as this spring.
When will the first live poker tournament be? The first event and series of tournaments this fall could be live play or digital. Depends on how soon dealer training and staff can be prepared.
Does Cherokee have plans for some type of poker series? Yes, starting in the fall.
— Mark Rhoades is Ante Up’s North Carolina Ambassador. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.