While destination type resort casinos have experienced a downturn in the current economy, many of the local native casinos continue to do well. At least four new tribal run casinos opened in the western states in November with another one due to open in December.
The most historical casino opening was the Navajo Nation’s first foray into casino gambling with its Fire Rock Casino in Churchrock, NM which opened for business on Nov. 19. The Navajo tribe experienced many difficulties on the way to opening but they weathered the storm and officials were wearing big smiles on their faces at the huge turnout for the grand opening.
The casino features 472 slot machines, a bingo hall, blackjack and five poker tables all staffed with native dealers. The casino has 272 employees with 92% of them being Navajo natives. Fire Rock Casino is projected to bring up to $35 million dollars in revenue for the Navajo Nation.
The Snoqualmie Casino opened early in the month near North Bend, Washington and brings with it over 1000 new jobs. The project cost $375 million dollars and the 170,000 sq. ft. facility includes 1,700 slot machines, smoke-free poker room with 8 tables and 50 gaming tables. The complex also holds some upscale amenities such as the cigar lounge complete with walk-in humidor, big name shows like Jessica Simpson in the Grand Ballroom and five restaurants.
The Lone Butte Casino from the Gila River Indian Community opened on Nov. 20 with a ceremonial dance. This is the third casino from the tribe and brings more than 700 new jobs to the area. The 120,000 sq. ft. gaming hall has 850 slot machines, 24 blackjack tables, a bingo hall and a separate high-limit gaming room. Other amenities include the outdoor courtyard, entertainment areas and six restaurants along with a full-service bar.
Cherokee Casino Resort in West Siloam Springs, OK paid out a hefty slots jackpot of $40,000 to one area visitor on their opening night, Nov. 10. Talk about starting things off with a bang! This new complex offers over 200,000 sq. ft. of gaming space with obver 12,000 games all told. The gaming facility is only the first phase of the complex with later additions including a large food court with all sorts of cuisines and a multistory hotel. When finished, the complex will employ over 1,000 people.
The Sky Ute Casino Resort and Conference Center opened quietly on Nov. 18 with a grand opening celebration weekend held Nov. 28 – 30. Located in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains, the casino has 540 slot machines, 12 table games and a bingo hall. Other amenities designed to appeal to the entire family include the spa/salon, 18-hole mini golf course, 24-site RV park and a 24-lane bowling center. In keeping with its family-friendly theme, any part of the resort can be reached via an outside entrance without parents having to bring children through the gaming floor.
On Dec. 17, the Red Hawk Casino will open just 30 minutes east from Sacramento, CA. The casino will provide about 2,000 jobs to the area. Features include 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, 6 restaurants, 4 bars and a gift shop. The casino has one complete level of gaming and dining that is completely smoke-free.