Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians talking through options at 407

Chief said they’ve had discussions about gaming as well.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians said Wednesday there have been talks about avenues to create a video gaming business in Sevier County. He said those have just been minor discussions.

A large crowd of interest at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday. Many people were interested in plans at the 407 where the Cherokees purchased hundreds of acres of land recently.

Chief Richard Sneed said his message was to help the crowd understand what they’re planning for and to understand the Cherokee people.

“Just to help them understand who we are as a people and then we’d certainly have the opportunity with our development out here to tell our story and that’s something we’re looking into,” said Sneed.

Along with the largest Buc-ee’s, Sneed said the Cherokees are in talks to finalize more deals. He sees the 407 as a destination where folks will come and stay for days.

“This is an opportunity to create a destination. That’s right at 40, we’d love for people to stay one or two days,” he said. “So there’s a lot in the works, but again, can’t disclose what those other businesses are.”

Of course a big question is will there be live gaming in Sevier County? Sneed said that’s something the Cherokees have talked about, but it will take years to make it happen.

“This process requires a great deal of work, great deal of money. And at the end, you know, it may be that the state, that the governor, doesn’t concur and at that point you’ve wasted a lot of time and a lot of resource,” he said. “That was just a minor discussion that we had. There’s no action on counsels part because that’s who it has to come from. It was simply a discussion.”

Right now the Cherokees have no official plans for the property near Smokies Stadium.

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