Catawba bingo could return to Rock Hill as soon as next month

By: Ken Elkins

The Catawba Indian Nation is looking to bring high-stakes bingo back to Rock Hill as soon as May.

That was the word today from Catawba Chief Bill Harris, who spoke at an American Indian Chamber of Commerce business expo this morning.

“It’s close,” Harris said concerning an opening date for a new bingo operation in a former Bi-Lo supermarket on Cherry Road.

It will be the second bingo parlor for South Carolina’s only federally recognized tribe. The first effort was shuttered in 2006 after about nine years of operation, the victim of the then-new S.C. lottery.

The bingo hall is being developed by the Catawbas’ partner, Sky Boat, which is also helping the tribe establish a planned $600 million casino in Kings Mountain. That effort is awaiting a U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs ruling on bringing the site under a trust that the Catawbas say will allow them to start construction.

Metcon, a construction company with a Charlotte office, is handling the upfit and renovations for the Rock Hill bingo parlor. That work will cost about $500,000, excluding the price of the bingo equipment and furnishings, says Russell Partin, Metcon vice president.

Partin says the bingo hall will total about 45,000 square feet in the Northeast Plaza shopping center in the 2300 block of Cherry Road, about a half-mile from the former Catawba bingo operation.

A 1993 federal settlement with the tribe, which addressed the Catawbas’ claim to 144,000 acres in Upstate South Carolina, allows the tribe to operate two bingo halls, one of which must be in York County.