Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane Tribe to open casino early next month

Venue expected to create 300 jobs

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--Kevin Blocker
Work started on the Spokane Tribe Casino in late 2016. It's expected to be the first phase of the larger Spokane Tribe Economic Project.

The Spokane Tribe of Indians says it will debut its new 38,000-square-foot casino in Airway Heights to the public at 7 p.m on Jan. 8.

Spokane Tribe chairwoman Carol Evans says the casino will open with 450 slot machines and 12 table games, which will include Black jack, craps, and roulette. The casino also will feature two restaurants with bars, and a bar on the gaming floor.

Evans made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Mike Tedesco, the economic development director of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, told the Journal in an interview that the tribe is “95 percent finished” with construction of the $40 million project.

“It’s getting very, very close,” Tedesco says of the project, located along U.S. 2 on the western edge of Airway Heights. The tribe broke ground on the project in November of 2016.

The casino is the first phase of a projected $400 million Spokane Tribe Economic Project that’s envisioned to include a casino-resort complex, retail space, tribal cultural space, and a fire and police station.

About 250 jobs have been filled, with about 44 percent of those hired being of “Native American” descent. The first phase will create about 300 new jobs in all, Evans says.

In 2013, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in its final Environmental Impact Statement, said STEP could ultimately create up to 5,000 construction-related and permanent jobs in Spokane County.

The operation will be an off-reservation casino, but is federally designated land within the aboriginal area of the Spokane Tribe.

The Spokane Tribe has about 2,900 members. The 160,000-acre Spokane Indian Reservation is 40 miles northwest of Spokane.

(UPDATED with confirmed information on the casino's opening date at 1 p.m. Pacific, 12/21/17)

 Kevin Blocker
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Reporter Kevin Blocker, a University of Colorado alum, is a rec league basketball addict. At age 47, he still sports a 32-inch vertical leap. He has three children, all of whom are hooked on hoops.

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