In the western American state of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians has reportedly filed a land-into-trust application in hopes of being given official permission to bring a small casino resort to 20 acres of off-reservation land within the city of Salem.
According to a Monday report from the Salem Reporter newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe has run the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City since 1995 and is now seeking consent from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to construct a venue for the state’s capital that would feature a 500-room hotel as well as a 180,800 sq ft casino offering a selection of approximately 2,000 slots and 45 gaming tables.
The newspaper reported that the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians first announced plans to bring a casino to the north side of Salem just over three years ago and had hoped to open this venue by the conclusion of 2021. The tribe purportedly detailed that it moreover wants the coming development to host a trio of restaurants and a food court in addition to a sports bar, a nightclub and an events center with ample parking.
The Salem Reporter explained that the tribe is optimistic that the federal government will approve its land-into-trust request as the proposed project is expected to create some 1,500 full-time jobs and bring in first-year revenues of approximately $184.5 million. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians purportedly pronounced that the envisioned venue would furthermore operate an imaginative revenue-sharing arrangement that would see half of its takings distributed to other area tribes with the remainder going to state and local governments.
Despite this incentive, the newspaper reported that the plan to bring a casino resort to Salem is set to face fierce opposition from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, which is responsible for the 254-room Spirit Mountain Casino. This second tribe purportedly believes that the prospect of a new gambling-friendly property opening up only 35 miles away from its own would harm business and possibly lead to job losses.
Justin Martin, a lobbyist for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, reportedly declared that Spirit Mountain Casino with 1,200 workers is the largest single employer in Polk County and additionally helps to fund local fire and police services. He purportedly stated that authorizing the proposed Salem casino would also serve to undermine the initial objective of legalized tribal gaming.
Martin reportedly told the newspaper…
“The original intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was to create economic opportunity in and around reservations throughout the United States. If this casino were to be approved, it would provide an incentive for tribes to pursue similar projects in urban areas.”