• Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino staff members test out of one of the 16 bowling lanes that will open in the new Ultra Star Multi-tainment Center on Monday. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY
    Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino staff members test out of one of the 16 bowling lanes that will open in the new Ultra Star Multi-tainment Center on Monday. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY

Casino expansion brings jobs, fun

    Murphy – Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel is about to unveil the second phase of its development.
    The Ultrastar expansion – featuring a bowling alley, new restaurant and other amenities – will be open to the public starting Monday, adding a family element to the entertainment options offered at the nearly three-year-old facility.
    The new expansion also will create 80-90 new jobs, Ultrastar spokesman Dan Terry said. The project was completed inside the budget $13 million, General Manager Lumpy Lambert said.
    “The new additions bring two major benefits for our guests. First of all, the family oriented entertainment, bowling and arcade gives visitors more options to enjoy when here,” Lambert said. “Secondly, The Landing Café will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the sit-down dining atmosphere is something our guests have really been asking for.”
    The Landing Cafe is one the jewels of the expansion, offering a long-awaited dining venue for patrons who before only had the food court on site for mid-gaming sustenance.
    The restaurant will open for all three meals, but will not be open around the clock. Breakfast opens at 7 a.m., closing around 11 p.m. or midnight, depending on the day of the week. There is seating for 250 in the restaurant.
    There will be a new bar with 10 table-top games, along with an entertainment stage for live music. The bowling alley has 16 lanes and includes options for food and drink service while you bowl.
    The lounge area includes two billiard tables and a main meeting room, with auxiliary meeting rooms located in another area of the building. An arcade complete with ticket redemption is available as well.
    The entire family friendly area of the expanded casino is non-smoking.
    Lambert said it’s too early to worry about the next project, but plans for future additions would be looked at down the road. Harrah’s recently began an expansion at Cherokee Casino Resort that will include a new hotel tower and convention center.
    “Our goals are centered around sustainable growth. That may mean additional expansion in the future, but it will depend on how business trends develop,” Lambert said.
    As for any possibility of sports gambling being offered in the future after the overturn of the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act, Lambert said that is in wait-and-see mode.
    “Any changes we may see will have to be agreed upon by the tribe and state. Both groups are aware of the ruling and have had some dialogue on the subject, but that’s all we know at this point,” Lambert said.