The Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino in Murphy, North Carolina, falls into darkness during the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse. Photo: Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel
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Eastern Cherokees saw big boost in business at casinos thanks to solar eclipse

The solar eclipse wasn't just a stunning natural phenomenon, it was good business for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The tribe's two casino hotels in North Carolina saw near 100 percent occupancy thanks to the August 21 event, The New York Post reported. Revenue per room increased a whopping 354 percent at the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort and 343.8 percent at the Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel, which was in the path of complete totality, the paper said.

Both facilities are located in smaller communities and similar locales throughout the United States saw the biggest benefits from the eclipse, according to STR, a marketplace analysis firm. Most of the 139,000 hotel rooms in the path of totality were in non-urban locations, the firm said.

In related Eastern Cherokee news, the tribe opened a 53,000-square-foot entertainment center at the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort last week. The UltraStar Multi-Tainment Center features a bowling alley with 24 lanes, an arcade, a restaurant and bar and an event stage.

“This place is out of this world,” elder and bowler Annie Owens told The Cherokee One Feather, the tribe's newspaper. “I didn’t expect it to be like this. I expected it to be just like a regular bowling alley, but when I walked in that door, I just about cried. This is awesome.”

Read More on the Story:
Hotels really cashed in on the solar eclipse: report (The New York Post September 6, 2017)
Bowling alley opens in Cherokee (The Smoky Mountain News September 6, 2017)
Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center at Harrah's opens (The Mountaineer September 1, 2017)
Time to bowl! (The Cherokee One Feather August 30, 2017)

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Navajo Nation leaders urge reflection as rare solar eclipse crosses United States (August 21, 2017)
Warm Springs Tribes offer exclusive and pricey option for viewing solar eclipse (August 7, 2017)