Washington tribal casino set to almost double its size
By Bob Garcia
The Spokane Tribe is preparing to make a major investment to increase its Airway Heights casino
While many commercial casinos across the US were forced to close for long periods of time this year because of COVID-19, a lot of the tribal casinos remained open. With some exceptions, these are not required to follow state health guidelines, so they could make the choice of whether to continue operating or to shut down. Those that continued operating were better able to cope with the global coronavirus pandemic, but all suffered in one way or another. The Spokane Tribe in Washington was one of the ones caught up by the pandemic, but is ready to emerge. It has announced that it is bringing back to life expansion plans for its Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights, and that the expansion should be complete sometime before the end of 2021.
The casino expansion had previously been put on the schedule for this year, but COVID-19 ruined those plans. The tribe announced yesterday that it’s time to put the plan into action and that, by the time it’s done, the gambling facility will be twice as big as it is now. There will be another 20,000 square feet of gaming space, a new dining facility, a sportsbook and a larger bar in the casino area. There will also be a larger nonsmoking section added. Additional amenities are expected to be announced as the project moves forward.
The Spokane Tribe doesn’t have to follow Washington State’s health policies at the casino since it is located on sovereign land. However, the tribe has opted to enforce many of the same state guidelines, including temperature checks, face masks and increased sanitizing. Still, since it is one of the few casinos in the area that has been available, it has seen a monthly profit increase of around 10%, which is going to make it easier to facilitate the new expansion.