Owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, Harrah's Casino has live blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker games along with some 5,000 electronic gaming machines in a huge casino the size of more than three football fields. At the new entrance, five-story columns surround a 75-foot colored waterfall, highlighting a 140-foot, hi-def TV screen. The casino is truly a "great smoky" experience: except for a small smoke-free area, the casino allows cigarette and cigar smoking.
Alcohol is available in the casino and its restaurants and bars (the rest of the Cherokee Indian Reservation is dry). You'll find Ruth's Chris Steak House, Johnny Rockets, Uno Pizzeria, Brio Tuscany Grille, and other restaurants (all smoke free) in the casino and connected supersized hotel. Big-name stars such as Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, and Reba McEntire provide entertainment at the casino's 3,000-seat theater. A $650 million expansion completed in 2012 doubled the size of the hotel, making it the largest in the state of North Carolina. A new 1,132-space parking deck allows easier access, though it can be quite a hike (parking is free, valet parking is $12). The tribe is building a second casino and hotel complex about an hour away in Murphy, North Carolina.