Outgoing Eastern Cherokee leader to join gaming commission

Michell Hicks. Photo from Facebook

Michell Hicks is leaving his job as chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina next month but he isn't going far.

Hicks will serve as the new executive director of the tribe's gaming commission. His post is effective October 6, the day after he steps down as chief after three terms in office.

“Mr. Hicks brings a wealth of directly related experience to the position,” the gaming commission said in a statement to The Cherokee One Feather. “He will be an especially valuable addition to our organization during this period of growth and expansion in the gaming industry.”

A view of the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina. Photo from Facebook

The tribe is opening the $110 million Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel near the town of Murphy on September 28. The 125,000 square-foot facility features a 50,000 square-foot gaming floor and a seven-story hotel with 301 rooms.

The tribe already operates the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort, a much larger facility, about an hour away. Hicks was in office when the tribe completed a $650 million expansion of the casino. He also negotiated a new Class III gaming compact that authorized live dealers.

Hicks will be succeeded as chief by Patrick Lambert, who won election with 71 percent of the vote. Lambert served as executive director of the gaming commission for 22 years. He was the first director.

Get the Story:
TGC announces new executive director (The Cherokee One Feather 9/11)
Hicks to take Gaming Commission top job when political term ends (The Smoky Mountain News 9/11)

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