The Spokane Tribe of Washington has already received approval from the federal government to construct their Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Spokane in Airway Heights. As per federal law, Indian tribes are only allowed to construct casinos on reservation land but the Spokane tribe had petitioned the federal government to make an exception so that it could construct a new casino off-reservation and that requested was granted.
The Kalispel Tribe had successfully petitioned the federal government over ten years ago in similar fashion for a casino in Airway Heights. The Kalispel Tribe believes another casino in the area could significantly hurt its revenue. They want Governor Jay Inslee to put a stop to the new casino project.
The Spokane Tribe have been building a strong case, willing to invest $400 million into their Hard Rock branded Airway Heights casino, which in turn will create around 5,000 jobs for locals. The tribe which has around 2,900 members has a high rate of unemployment and hopes to fill these new casino jobs with tribal employees.
Gov Inslee has to make the final decision and decide whether the new Spokane tribal casino should be approved or if it should be put on hold till further notice. The governor has until June 2016 to make a decision but many expect a decision before the end of this year. The Governor’s office was not willing to shed more light on the matter and would not confirm if he had any particular preference as of now.
In a statement, Carol Evans, the first female chair of the Spokane tribe said “It will really help with high unemployment among tribal members. The revenue will help with health care, scholarships, elder programs and cultural programs. We are looking at growing the market and not upsetting any competition.”
The Kalispel Tribe are unhappy with the Spokane casino proposal stating that the Spokane tribe could have applied earlier for a casino license but are doing so only now because they realize how successful the Kalispel Tribe casino in Airway Heights has turned out to be.