NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Catawba Indian nation is interested in opening a bingo hall in North Charleston.
The tribe sent a request to city officials expressing interest in running a bingo parlor.
Since 1997, the Catawba nation has been operating a bingo hall in Rock Hill. More than 350,000 people have played bingo there and more than $16 million in prizes has been paid out.
Right now, there are lots of bingo parlors in North Charleston and in the Tri-County area.
Commercial realtor Tim Mallard has been hired by the Catawbas to find a building for bingo. Mallard says the bingo hall will generate between 25 and 30 jobs.
"North Charleston's a great place and there's already a precedent set for so many other bingo halls that are around the area. So we thought it was the easiest spot for them to get started down here," Mallard said Wednesday.
Under state law, bingo parlors must give some of their profits to a charity.
The Catawbas are considered a non-profit organization and can send whatever money they make back to the reservation.
"They've got lots of kids that are in the tribe that they distribute them money so they can go to college, get out of the poverty cycle that some of these Indian tribe's young family members have been in for years," Mallard said.
Area bingo operators we contacted declined to comment on camera. But one operator said off camera, she's concerned the Catawba nation could hurt other bingo business and even put some out of business because they can offer bigger jackpots."
Mallard believes there's room for the Catawba's bingo parlor and the existing ones to continue making money.
"People love it, people like bingo," Mallard said.
Mallard says the Catawbas also are looking at Myrtle Beach as a possible site for a bingo parlor.
North Charleston City Council's public safety committee is expected to discuss the proposal Thursday.