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NC House panel OKs Cherokee casino game expansion

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Changes to state gambling laws which allow the Cherokee casino in western North Carolina to offer live dealer poker and other table games have cleared a House budget subcommittee.

The panel met late Tuesday and approved a Senate proposal for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to implement an amended gambling compact with Gov. Beverly Perdue. The casino currently offers electronic games.

Deal supporters say it will expand casino offerings while hiring hundreds of workers. Public schools will benefit from a cut of revenues from the new games.

Tribe Principal Chief Michell Hicks told the subcommittee the change will help tribe members and those living in the region. Rep. Mark Hilton opposes the gambling expansion, saying it will contribute to more substance abuse and family problems.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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