Two Washington tribes – the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and Bands of the Yakama Nation – are competing to open the first tribal casino in the Tri-Cities and bring the $3.1 billion tribal gaming industry to the area. The Confederated Tribes bought land in Pasco in 2019 for this purpose, while the Yakama Nation requests a more even distribution of tribal gaming facilities in the Tri-Cities area.

Interests Disclosed:

As the Tri-City Herald reports, the two tribes have recently revisited the Colville plan on the property after no firm promises for the land use were given in 2019, when the Colville Business Council showed interest in the development but made no determinations in this regard. The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation reportedly disclosed their separate intentions to develop a casino in the Tri-Cities.

Officials confirmed with the source that the Confederated Tribes have casino locations in Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland. Therefore Gerald Lewis, chair of the Yakama Nation, reportedly told the source: The Colvilles have three casinos. We only have one. This is the big issue we are having.”

Application Submitted:

At the same time, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation have reportedly confirmed that they submitted the land-into-trust application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs agency of the United States Department of the Interior for the 184 acres bought near Pasco’s King City Truck Stop in 2019. According to the Tri-City Herald, Lewis referred to the competing tribe’s move as “upsetting.”

According to Rodney Cawston, Chairman of the tribe’s Colville Business Council, the additional reason for purchasing the land was to help members from the Palouse Band of his tribe return to their ancestral homelands and to promote cultural and traditional heritage. The procedure to transfer the land into federal trust includes 16 steps managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is processed by the Indian Gaming Commission. The tribal casino establishments are governed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Competition Continues:

According to the source, the 1988 Act governs 474 tribal casinos in 29 states. The State of Washington is home to 29 gaming facilities operated by 22 tribes which are mostly located in Western Washington and around Spokane and in the northern parts of the state.

Both the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and Bands of the Yakama Nation claim the Pasco area using the Palouse Tribe as the asset to help economic and cultural community development. The Yakama Nation reportedly noted that the Palouse Tribe was a party to the 1855 treaty signed with the U.S. government that didn’t give the right to the Colville Tribes to the disputable territory. The source reports that the Palouse Tribe has good relations with both tribes and awaits the outcome of the competition.