Inside the new sports gambling room in Kings Mountain
Plus: Tim Newman released from jail after more than 2 years; Readers weigh in on Camp Thunderbird zipline fall; New Belk CEO; Airport wedding; Sex workers complain Wells Fargo is dropping them
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Review: The new sports book in Kings Mountain allows plenty of betting. But hanging out there? Meh.
The Catawba Two Kings Casino’s sports book, which opened last week, has the feel of a DMV on the inside but does have a lot of kiosks and betting options that were popular this weekend.
by Tony Mecia
It’s not the Bellagio or Caesars Palace — not by a long shot.
But say this about the new sports gambling room inside the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain: It delivers on its promise — letting people bet on sports. And on its first weekend, which featured thrilling college football games and the first Sunday of the NFL season, it was popular.
By 11 a.m. on Sunday, two hours before NFL kickoffs, all the betting kiosks were full, with a wait to make bets, and seats were filling. That followed a busy day on Saturday, when people were sitting on the floor to watch the Alabama-Texas college football game, a casino worker told The Ledger.
The casino’s new sports book, which opened last week, doesn’t look like much. The whole casino is in a makeshift temporary facility as work continues toward a permanent building.
It’s the third site in North Carolina where there’s legal sports gambling — and it’s the closest to Charlotte, at about 40 minutes west off I-85. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino opened its sports book in March 2021. That’s about three hours away. This summer, the General Assembly voted down a bill that would have legalized online sports betting and allowed the opening of additional in-person sites, including potentially at Bank of America Stadium and the Spectrum Center.
In the name of journalistic inquiry, The Ledger visited the Catawba Two Kings Casino this weekend ahead of Sunday’s NFL games to gauge the scene and tell you if it’s worth your time.
Ledger’s take: At just 40 minutes from Charlotte, it’s a perfectly fine place to make sports bets. But do you really want to hang out in a trailer in Kings Mountain?
A cramped room that feels like it’s in a trailer isn’t the ideal place to watch sports, and with only 16 seats, it’s likely it will be crowded on game days. It’s a temporary facility with a depressing rural casino vibe. Counterpoint: There are big TVs and comfortable chairs. Grade: C-
Food and drink
There are two options for food: a cafe with sandwiches and salads in the $6 range, and a “food truck” with burgers and cheese steaks in the $10-15 range. Beer and wine are $7, pre-mixed cocktails are $11. Free soft drinks for bettors. Waiters/waitresses pass through the sports book taking drink orders. Grade: B-
The 22 betting kiosks are easy to use, especially if you know what you’re doing. They offer a wide range of bets — including parlays, prop bets, teasers and futures — and there are many different sports, including mixed martial arts, soccer and auto racing. There are no in-person betting windows, but attendants can be called to answer questions, or you can go to the booth on the main betting floor known as “the cage.” Winning tickets can be mailed in. Open 24 hours. Grade: A-
The temporary facilities of the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain get the job done, but they’re not much to look at. It’s located by Exit 5 on I-85, just north of the S.C. border.
Sample odds (as of Sunday morning):
Panthers to win Super Bowl: +12500 ($100 bet wins $12,500)
Panthers to win NFC South: +970 ($100 bet wins $970)
Charlotte Hornets to win NBA championship: +15000 ($100 bet wins $15,000)
Charlotte FC to win MLS championship: +24900 ($100 bet wins $24,900)
Related Ledger article:
“The first day of legal sports gambling in N.C.” (🔒, March 19, 2021)
Today’s supporting sponsors are T.R. Lawing Realty…
… and Landon A. Dunn, attorney-at-law in Matthews:
Tim Newman released from jail after 2 ½ years; pleads guilty to misdemeanors and is sentenced to probation
After nearly two and a half years in a South Carolina jail, former uptown Charlotte power broker Tim Newman was released last week after a plea deal.
Newman lawyer Brett Perry told The Ledger on Sunday that Newman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of breach of the peace and was sentenced to three years of probation and time served. That resolves the major charges against him that stemmed from threats to blow up a dam outside of Charleston in 2020.
“He was extremely happy about it,” Perry said.
Newman, 57, had been held in the Georgetown County Detention Center since April of 2020, following increasingly erratic behavior in the preceding years. Several law enforcement agencies in North and South Carolina had investigated him on harassment charges, but the threat to the dam, and subsequent threats against sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers, contributed to keeping him in jail for so long with no bond.
Part of the sentencing requires he check in with the S.C. Department of Mental Health, Perry said. It’s unclear where Newman is now — court records show addresses for him in Columbia and in Fort Mill. The Ledger examined Newman’s difficulties in-depth in the June 2020 article “The unraveling of Tim Newman.”
Tim Newman, in a 2020 Mecklenburg County Jail mug shot, following an arrest for a probation violation
In the 2000s, Newman was one of Charlotte’s best-connected uptown insiders. The former Morehead Scholar with an Ivy League MBA headed the uptown development group Charlotte Center City Partners and then the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, where he helped the city win the competition to land the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Newman still faces misdemeanor charges in Georgetown County connected to throwing bodily fluids on corrections officers while in jail, records show. Newman also pleaded guilty on Sept. 1 to four charges of harassment charges in Richland County, according to court records. It’s hard to get information on weekends, but those appear to be related to accusations of harassment of South Carolina’s lieutenant governor and her staff. The records indicate the issuance of a permanent restraining order in those cases.
He might continue to face other charges in North Carolina from before the dam incident.
“I believe he intends to take care of some issues he has pending up there,” Perry said. —TM
Related Ledger articles:
“The unraveling of Tim Newman” (June 3, 2020)
“Yet another criminal charge added to jailed Tim Newman” (April 29)
Reader mailbag 📫: Thoughts on the YMCA Camp Thunderbird zipline fall
A lot of Ledger readers offered feedback on our observations earlier this month about the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, which has continued to decline to release information about how a 12-year-old girl fell off its zipline and was seriously injured in June.
We wrote on Sept. 2 that we think the Y’s explanation that it doesn’t want to jeopardize the girl’s privacy is an insufficient explanation for refusing to answer basic questions about its operations and safety practices — questions that many parents would like to know before sending their kids to camp.
Some readers agreed, and some didn’t. A sampling of the responses:
Asking hard questions: “Thanks for pulling the curtain back on this topic! And you’re right, if the Ledger isn’t asking question, who is? Thank you for asking the hard questions — making a little healthy trouble for the people in charge.”
Good follow-up: “Thanks for sticking with the zipline story. A small example of the need for journalistic oversight.”
No camp for my kids: “Keep on the Y. I’d never send a kid to camp there again.”
Ruffling feathers: “Great article! I hope this ruffles some feathers over there.”
Keep pressing: “Thank you so much for following up on the Camp Thunderbird issue. My family has used the Y for years, and my oldest went to Thunderbird this past summer for her first sleep away camp. I hate how they still haven’t given any information. Thank you for still pressing them.”
Maybe safety isn’t the issue: “I am really surprised that the Y won’t share anything regarding the incident. I, too, have children that are and have been campers during these recent accidents the past few years, and I went to Thunderbird when I was young. My only thought that I can see as to why they wouldn’t divulge any information is that maybe it did not have to do with zipline safety. Was the camper being intentionally reckless with her life? Suicide attempts in youth today are unfortunately becoming more common. If that is not the case, then why not speak 100% on the safety measures?”
I don’t buy privacy argument: “Keep going. They need to answer questions about this incident. I would not send my kids there until I knew about the equipment inspection and the training of the staff. It’s ridiculous for them to not answer the questions you’re asking, and it has nothing to do with the camper’s privacy.”
Balanced approach: “I’m not much of a fan of the media due to bias on both sides, but the Ledger is the most balanced reporting I’ve seen in years. Thanks for being here and doing what you do.”
Privacy is important: “I want to voice my personal opposition to you pursuing the YMCA camp story. My concern is that there are quite legitimate viewpoints that the privacy of the injured girl is important. Her family may not want this spoken about in the public, even with her name remaining unknown. As a parent, I can certainly understand the desire for anonymity in today’s highly public world where social media is everywhere and uncontrolled. I personally tend to believe people (and organizations like the Y) tend to have good intentions and are not necessarily trying to hide things.”
None of The Ledger’s business: “Maybe not everything is your business! Most papers (which is a business) generate stories that appeal to humans’ curiosity as a great means to increase subscriptions, etc. I get it. You are in business to generate revenue. All fair. But I don’t believe it is everyone’s business to know what goes on in every business operation. If someone elects not to send their child to camp, then refrain from doing so. I don’t think it’s fair to label someone as ‘stonewalling" just because they won’t talk to you. Do you pay their salary? What makes you believe they are obligated to be accountable to you? This is the kind of attitude the creates animosity.”
You might be interested in these Charlotte events
Events submitted by readers to The Ledger’s new events board:
Saturday: Charlotte VegFest, 12-4 p.m., Camp North End, Ford Building. Charlotte VegFest is a family-friendly celebration of a healthy, sustainable and compassionate lifestyle and explores the endless benefits of vegan living. Free.
Sept. 26: Christian College Fair, 6-8 p.m., Charlotte Christian School, Lamb/Johnson Gym. The NACCAP Christian College Fair will provide interested students and parents with information on Christian colleges across the country. Free.
◼️ Check out the full Ledger events board.
➡️ List your event on the Ledger events board.
Wells terminating sex workers’ accounts: Sex workers say Wells Fargo has been closing their accounts with little explanation. One adult content creator said the move feels like discrimination, and the operators of Las Vegas porn production company YummyGirl Studios say they run a tax-paying business that is not high-risk. Letters from Wells say the bank “performs ongoing reviews of its account relationships in connection with the Bank’s responsibilities to manage risks in its banking operations.” (Rolling Stone)
New Belk CEO: Belk named Don Hendricks as its CEO, the company’s third leader since last summer. He’s been with the company since 2016, most recently as president, and said he thinks Belk “is well positioned to build on its current momentum and achieve success.” (Observer)
Investigation concluded: Brigham Young University said its investigation of accusations that fans shouted racial slurs at a Duke University volleyball player during a match last month showed no evidence that slurs were used. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Stores closing: Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close 150 stores nationwide in the next few months but hasn’t said if the five in the Charlotte area will be affected. (Observer)
New milkshake: Chick-fil-A will start selling Autumn Spice Milkshakes today, the chain’s first new milkshake flavor in four years. It’s made with spices including cinnamon and brown sugar cookie bits. (USA Today)
‘Future of work’ investment: Charlotte-based Falfurrias Capital Partners said it invested in marketing agency Said Differently, its first investment in support of its “future of work” thesis that aims to identify companies capitalizing on changes in how work gets done.
‘College GameDay’ heads to N.C. mountains: The ESPN pre-game show “College GameDay” will broadcast from Boone on Saturday, following Appalachian State’s upset win over No. 6 Texas A&M. (Watauga Democrat)
Airport wedding: A couple who met on an American Airlines flight from Cleveland to Charlotte in May 2021 got married in the atrium of Charlotte’s airport on Friday. The airport said on Facebook that “it was love at first flight.” (Observer)
Unless you are a day trader, checking your stocks daily is unhealthy. So how about weekly? How local stocks of note fared last week (through Friday’s close), and year to date:
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Executive editor: Tony Mecia; Managing editor: Cristina Bolling; Staff writer: Lindsey Banks; Contributing editor: Tim Whitmire, CXN Advisory; Contributing photographer/videographer: Kevin Young, The 5 and 2 Project