The Spokane Tribe are set to open their third casino in their native Washington State this Monday, ending an eleven year wait to do so.
The $40m 145 acre site in Airway Heights, just off highway 2 will feature 450 slot machines, 12 table games, a restaurant and bar, a deli and gaming-floor bar.
A proposal to build a casino on the site was submitted to the US Department of the Interior in 2006, but was only approved in 2015. Washington state governor Jay Inslee later approved the tribe’s casino proposal in 2016, despite opposition from community leaders and the neighbouring Kalispel Tribe, who operate the Northern Quest Resort and Casino.
The Spokane Tribe currently operates the Two Rivers Casino north of Davenport, offering class III gaming and a small casino in Chewelah which also offers class III gaming.
In a statement to the Spokesman Review website, Carol Evans, chairwoman for the tribe hailed the end of the tribes’ journey “It’s been a lengthy process, but our tribe has been here forever. We have always been a people of strong will. We are always people who will stand up for our rights. We always knew that we would prevail.”
The Spokane Tribe also has long-term plans to further expand the casino development, by including a hotel, cultural centre, retail and entertainment venues at a total spend of about $400m. An estimated 5,000 jobs will be created in the finished development with the casino generating annual earnings of around $66m.
Tribal leaders have negotiated a deal with the city of Airway Heights in which the tribe will make annual payments to reimburse Airway Heights for the associated cost of providing city services to the casino.
Chairwoman Evans was keen to stress the positive impacts on the state adding: “It’s not just about the Spokane Tribe; it’s about us as a community.
“We want to be part of the West Plains. We want to build relationships. We want to be here for the whole area.”