Cherokee buy land in Sevierville for possible casino

The North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has bought land in Sevierville, and may seek to use the site to build a casino or sports betting venue.

“The EBCI assembled 122 acres that abut Smokies Stadium,” said Tim Duff, who brokered the sale. “We (Tim Duff and Chris Barnes with Realty Executives Commercial) listed and sold 48 acres of the tract that front Winfield Dunn Parkway.”

Sevier County records show the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians bought the land for $7.656 million, mostly from the Whaley family. The sale was recorded June 18.

The tribe currently owns two casinos on its 82.6-square-mile federal land trust, known as the Qualla Boundary. Both are operated by Harrah’s.

Casino gambling is not legal in Tennessee, but state legislators have discussed legalizing some sports betting.

Sevierville Public Information Officer Bob Stahlke said the city has talked to the Cherokee, but hasn’t discussed specific development plans – yet, anyway.

“They approached the city back in January and said they were possibly interested in purchasing property there,” Stahlke said. Sevier County was aware the Cherokee were negotiating a private land purchase, but not of any intended use of the property, county spokesman Perrin Anderson said. “The county has had no involvement in the purchase discussions,” he said. “No incentives or infrastructure were asked for or given.”

Cherokee representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

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Published June 21, 2019