Five weeks after opening and the Ilani Casino Resort in south-west Washington has so far reportedly seen thousands of gambling enthusiasts passing through its doors every day while also awarding around 3,000 slot jackpots.
According to a report from local newspaper, The Columbian, the 368,000 sq ft complex from the Cowlitz Indian Tribe opened on the morning of April 24 and immediately made headlines around the region due to its popularity causing an eight-mile-long traffic jam on nearby Interstate 5.
The newspaper reported that the $510 million Ilani Casino Resort has since averaged approximately 8,000 to 10,000 gamblers every day while daily visitation peaked at about 15,000 during its opening week.
“We’ve certainly experienced high volumes,” Kara Fox-LaRose, General Manager and President for the Ilani Casino Resort, told The Columbian. “It is an indicator that there is definitely awareness and curiosity out there in the community.”
Being run by Salishan-Mohegan LLC, which is a joint venture between the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority of Connecticut, the Ilani Casino Resort offers a collection of 2,500 slots alongside 75 gaming tables with Fox-LaRose reportedly declaring that most machine wins have so far been in the region of $3,000 although some have topped out at around $25,000 with one blackjack player recently banking a cash prize of $65,000.
“There are a lot of winners [and] a lot of happy people,” Fox-LaRose told The Columbian. “It has been a great experience these past few weeks.”
Although visitor numbers have been steady, Fox-LaRose reportedly stated that it was “interesting” that peak player times seemed to be around midnight while revealing that the venue’s 1,500 employees are continuing to park off-site near the Clark County Event Center on the weekends.
“We have anywhere from 500 to 700 cars from team members in the lot at one time so we want to make sure we free those up for [customers],” Fox-LaRose told the newspaper.
As it is located only about 25 miles from downtown Portland, Oregon, the Ilani Casino Resort is expected to draw a significant number of its players from “The Beaver State” although Fox-LaRose reportedly explained that she could not so far speak to the demographics of the people who are visiting the casino.
The Columbian reported that Oregon’s Office Of Economic Analysis recently predicted that the state is set to lose about $110 million a year due to the opening of the Ilani Casino Resort although a May 17 forecast from the Oregon Lottery revealed that sales had actually increased.
“At least based on these first three weeks, there has been no apparent impact on state-wide video lottery sales,” read the forecast from the Oregon Lottery. “It is still too soon to tell what the true impact will be from the new tribal casino and our office is not yet changing the estimate. That said, it does suggest the risks to the outlook for video lottery sales are clearly tilted towards the upside.”
Back in Washington and Fox-LaRose reportedly proclaimed that the 4,000-strong Cowlitz Indian Tribe remains on schedule to inaugurate a 17,000 sq ft events center and concert venue at the Ilani Casino Resort in the autumn while it moreover has plans to build an on-site hotel in around two years.