Have you heard that there is a Casino in Kings Mountain? If you are a regular reader of the Gaston Alive newsletter you have. They opened what they call a “pre-launch” facility last July. In December, they expanded their original 500 machines to 1000.
The casino is being constructed in three phases. The first is the “pre-launch” facility that you see above. The second phase, pictured at right, is the permanent casino; construction dates expected be announced in late 2022.
The third phase will include a hotel, and will be completed possibly as early as 2024. The initial cost of the project, including the casino, hotel, entertainment center, restaurants, and stores, was $273 million.
So one afternoon recently a buddy and I decided to go see what the hubub was all about. I am not a big gambler, but I have been to Casinos in Nevada, including Las Vegas, and to casinos in the Bahamas (cue James Bond music here) and to other states that offer gambling.
Let’s just say Kings Mountain Two Kings Casino is not Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, or even a Mississippi river boat. it’s sort of the poor trailer park version of the above. To be fair, however, the “pre-launch” casino that is there now is not at all what the finished product will be.
Right now all of the games are electronic, and the casino is divided into what was fairly obviously the first phase, in the front, and the newer phase in the back. As mentioned before, all of the games are electronic, but they actually look pretty cool. There is a “high roller” room, but it’s still just games with $5, $10, and $20 per play instead of $1.
There is currently one snack bar in the very back, and it’s very basic, with a few small tables tucked behind the gambling machines. I think a beer was $7, but overall it wasn’t too appealing. I guess if you’ve been gambling for hours, it’s better than vending machines or going hungry.
It was a weekday afternoon when we were there, and it was moderately busy; they must be packed on weekends. There is no glitz or glamor here, no showgirls, limo’s, bright lights, or big name entertainment, not yet anyway. But everyone involved with building this casino did it with one goal in mind: making money, and lots of it. And it appears that they are already doing that, with more to come. Much more.
If you like to gamble, it’s close and convenient. If you like nice hotels, fancy restaurants, or big name entertainment, you’ll need to wait. Whether you think having a casino fairly local is a boon or a blight, they are here to stay. They are already providing a great many jobs, and spurring local development.
I think eventually it will be a pretty cool place to visit, or to take out of town guests for an afternoon. But for now, unless you are a real gambler, I’d say they are not ready for prime time.