North Carolina Casinos: Harrah’s Cherokee Versus Valley River

Harrah's Cherokee and Harrah's Cherokee Valley River are the two largest NC casinos. Find out which one is the best for you.

Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River are the largest North Carolina casinos. Each is owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and operated by Caesars Entertainment. While both casinos have the same owner and management, there are many differences between the two properties.

Harrah’s Cherokee is the largest Caesars Entertainment casino

Harrah’s Cherokee has about 150,000 square feet of casino floor space. It is home to around 150 table games and 4100 slot machines. There are about 1800 hotel rooms at Harrah’s Cherokee. It has 10 restaurants plus a Gordon Ramsay Food Market. The property also has a bowling alley, events center, and a 25-table poker room. 

Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River’s casino floor is about one-third the size of the main property. A current expansion project will get that up to about half the size of Harrah’s Cherokee. The dining options are limited at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. The options are a cafe that is only open for dinner five days a week and closed at all other times, and a food court with five fast food options. There are about 300 hotel rooms at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. The current renovation will double that number and add a poker room.

North Carolina Sportsbooks

Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River are the only two North Carolina casinos with real sportsbooks. Catawba Two Kings only has betting kiosks and a seating area along the edge of the casino floor.

Harrah’s Cherokee has seating for about 150 people, as well as private and VIP fan caves. The seating is stadium-style. Valley River’s sportsbook only seats a few dozen people, including its bar. Both offer Caesars Sportsbooks odds. It is the only NC betting app that works on Cherokee land. The Caesars Sportsbook app went live there on March 1. It and seven others launch statewide on March 11, 2024.

Types of games at each casino

Both casinos offer a similar selection of games. Table game players will find baccarat, blackjack, craps, Spanish 21, Criss Cross Poker, High Card Flush, Mississippi Stud, 00 roulette, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Harrah’s Cherokee also has single zero roulette and Crazy 4 Poker. Valley River has DJ Wild.

There are also stadium games at Harrah’s Cherokee. The options are 6/5 blackjack, 00 roulette, baccarat, and big wheel. A stadium will arrive at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River once the construction is complete. Both casinos have Roll to Win and Shoot to Win Craps. 

Harrah’s Cherokee has electronic Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The minimum bet is only $1. Players earn Caesars Rewards points at a rate of one for every $20 wagered. These machines are perfect for point multiplier days for the rewards club.

Video poker options

Both casinos have terrible video poker at quarter and half-dollar denominations. At $1, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River offers a couple of games near 99 percent, like 15/9 Deuces Wild and 9/6 Double Double Bonus. Both casinos have 8/5 Double Double Bonus banks with five-way progressive jackpots that cover all special quads and a royal flush.

Harrah’s Cherokee has some of the best $5 video poker in the world. The options include Not-So-Ugly-Ducks (99.73%), 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe (99.64%), 9/5 White Hot Aces (99.57%), and many other games above 99 percent. There are no playable $5 video poker games at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.


Both casinos are in remote areas of western North Carolina. Convenience depends on which direction you are coming from. Casino players on the west or northwest side of Atlanta will find Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River to be closer. The same can be said of those arriving from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and its surrounding areas. All are about two hours from Valley River. Knoxville, Tennessee, is about two hours from both Cherokee casinos. However, traffic on Interstate 40 can be a problem if choosing Harrah’s Cherokee over Valley River. For almost everyone else Harrah’s Cherokee is closer. 

Asheville is about one hour from Cherokee. That is where the closest commercial airport to either property is. 

When you are about an equal from both casinos, consider the type of experience you want. If your goal is luxury dining, higher table game limits, a larger variety of games, a poker room, and a larger salon and lounge, more hotel options, a bowling alley, and other amenities, go to Harrah’s Cherokee. If you prefer an experience that offers better value with lower limits and inexpensive food, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River is the best North Carolina casino option. 

What about Catawba Two Kings?

Catawba Two Kings is a casino southwest of Charlotte, hours away from either Cherokee location. Catawba Two Kings is a small casino in a temporary building. It has struggled to build its permanent structure and any amenities. The casino floor only offers slot machines and electronic table games. It does not have any live table games, poker, or video poker. Its food selection is just above nonexistent. Players who want a casino experience beyond a slot hall will find Catawba Two Kings inferior to the major casinos in North Carolina.