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5 Things To Know: The Launch of Sports Betting in North Carolina

…and four more stories from March 14-20, 2021


sports betting in North Carolina
A rendering of The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, one of the first venues to allow sports betting in North Carolina. (Image courtesy of Harrah’s)

Sports Betting Kicks Off in North Carolina

Just in time for March Madness, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened the first two sports-betting venues in North Carolina on Thursday, one at each of their western North Carolina casinos. The venues, both called The Book, opened their respective doors at 10 a.m. on Thursday, hours before the start of the NCAA basketball tournament. 

The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, located in Cherokee, features a 90-foot-wide television screen for showing games, a viewing area with reclining chairs and USB charging ports, betting kiosks, a raised VIP seating zone, and three “fan caves” that can be rented out for exclusive experiences. The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel, located just outside of Murphy, will feature a seating area with a 32-foot screen, betting kiosks and bar-top gaming. 

A U.S. Supreme Court 2018 vote allowed for sports betting in most states,  and a North Carolina law passed in 2019 allowed for sports betting at Cherokee casinos. An agreement reached between Gov. Roy Cooper and the Catawba Indian Nation in January will allow for Vegas-style gaming at the Two Kings Casino Resort, set to open in Kings Mountain in September, though it’s unclear if or when sports betting will be allowed at the Catawba casino in North Carolina. 

Arrival To Open Microfactory in West Charlotte

Arrival, a global company that uses new technology to build electric vehicles, announced Wednesday that it will build its second U.S. microfactory in Charlotte. The microfactory is expected to begin production of  electric delivery vans in the third quarter of 2022 will bring more than 250 new jobs to Mecklenburg County, according to a press release sent out on Wednesday. 

sports betting in North Carolina
An Arrival delivery van. (Image courtesy of Arrival)

Arrival, founded in 2015, has its North American headquarters in Charlotte. The company’s mission is to accelerate the transition to zero-emission commercial vehicles by creating best in class products that are comparable in price with fossil fuel equivalents, offering a substantially lower total cost of ownership for operators. 

“The new Microfactory in Charlotte exemplifies this approach, bringing to the region fully electric Vans that excel across both payload and cargo volume,” the release stated.

The new microfactory will be located in the Meadow Oak Commerce Center near Charlotte Douglas International Airport in west Charlotte. The company is investing approximately $41.2 million in the modern production center, with the capacity to assemble up to 10,000 electric delivery vans a year.  Last fall, Arrival announced it would be opening a microfactory facility for its electric buses in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and in December 2020, announced it would establish its North American headquarters in South End, creating over 650 jobs in the Charlotte region. 

Percentage of Partially Vaccinated Adults Surpasses 25%

With more people becoming eligible to be vaccinated and more locations now offering vaccinations, the number of adults who have been at least partially vaccinated in North Carolina went above 25% this week. 

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), as of Thursday at midnight, the state had administered 3,594,787 total vaccination doses to residents, an increase of 432,152 since the same time last week. According to the NCDHHS Dashboard, 26.9% of North Carolina’s adult population has been at least partially vaccinated and 17.1% has been fully vaccinated. In Mecklenburg County, 170,227 people (15.3%) have been at least partially vaccinated while 104,695 (9.4%) have been fully vaccinated. 

Johnson C. Smith University President Clarence Armbrister gets his vaccination at an Atrium Health event on the JCSU campus targeting educators and early-childhood workers last weekend. (Photo by Kevin McCarthy/Atrium Health)

Vaccines are currently being offered at Bojangles through a partnership between Mecklenburg County and StarMed, as well as through private health-care providers, various mass vaccination sites, and at participating Walgreens and CVS locations. 

City Startup Labs Acquires BLKTECHCLT

Charlotte-based hybrid accelerator and incubator City Startup Labs announced on Tuesday that it has acquired BLKTECHCLT, an inclusive tech and startup community and consulting firm that began in Charlotte in 2017.  

Following the murder of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte in 2016, Sherrell Dorsey, Enovia Bedford, and Freda Hendley came together amid city-wide protests and discussions on equity to create a safe space for Black techies, innovators, and investors to convene and discuss the future they wanted to see for Charlotte. 

Sherrell Dorsey outside of the since-closed BLK TECH CLT space at Camp North End. (Photo by Joshua Galloway)

In 2018, Black Enterprise named BLKTECHCLT the Tech Champion of the Year. Through the Mayor’s Youth Program, students were handpicked and trained for tech internships and the founders worked to launch a $100k fund for entrepreneurs to start and grow their business.

“We’ve spent the last four years building one of the most substantive ecosystem support companies in Charlotte that focused on data-driven programming and support to the most overlooked group in the city: well-educated Black techies and budding high-growth tech entrepreneurs,” said Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of BLKTECHCLT. “We’re beyond excited to transition the body of our work to the City Startup Labs team.”

City Startup Labs intends to continue to develop talent and capacity to become a pipeline for vetted talent, innovations, and deal-flow to investors, according to a press release put out on Tuesday. The purchase gives the ability to add value to serious entrepreneurs who are intent on building scalable technology companies as well as employers looking for well-prepared Black tech talent that can also serve as that pipeline. The acquisition has been finalized, though the teams will work together over the next few weeks to finalize details. 

Double Murder Makes Three Homicides in Charlotte This Week

After a streak of 23 days without a murder in Charlotte, the city saw three homicides take place in two separate incidents over the last week, bringing the total number of killings in the city this year to 17. 

Just before 5 p.m. on Sunday, police responded to a shooting call on Delta Lake Drive near the intersection of East W.T. Harris Boulevard and found 18-year-old Milton Howard dead of a gunshot wound. Police reportedly took a man into custody at the scene and were not looking for any others.  Footage shared on social media by the suspected shooter shortly after the shooting showed Howard stumbling around after being shot as the suspected shooter claimed Howard had tried to rob him while spraying him with pepper spray. No charges have yet been filed in the case. 

Shortly after midnight on Monday morning, police responded to a shooting call at the South Oak Apartments on Kings Ridge Drive in southwest Charlotte and found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Twenty-two-year-old Isaiah Doctor-Muhammad was pronounced dead on the scene. Lee’Vantay Rankin, 27, was transported to the hospital, where he later died. A third unidentified victim believed to have been wounded in the same incident later showed up at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

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