One of Washington State’s biggest gambling venues opens on Monday, June 8, as the Puyallup Tribe’s new Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel Tacoma located at 2920 East R St, with COVID-19 precautions in place.

The $400 million facility, which features a gigantic 32 by 147 feet LED screen that is visible from Interstate 5, will hold an opening ceremony at 9am to be followed by a Tribal members-only opening after which the general public will be welcomed at noon.

In the official press release (pdf), the Tribe’s governing body, the Tribal Council said…

“We want to thank our staff and predecessors on Council for their perseverance. They’ve worked hard to make this dream an amazing reality.”

Years in the making and originally slated to open in December, the new casino replaced the Tacoma I-5 casino, which was a former bingo hall with a trio of adjoining tents. According to earlier reports, the tents will eventually be demolished. The Tribe’s “EQC” Fife location will remain operational.

Facility amenities:

Designed by Cuningham Group Architecture, the all-new Vegas-style Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel in Tacoma features 310,000 square feet of gaming & entertainment space, more than 2,000 slot machines and 50-plus table games, alongside five restaurants including a fine dining option, a buffet, coffee shop, deli, and a sports bar, although initially, COVID-19 restrictions will be in effect.

Additional amenities include a 2,000-seat, 21,000-square-foot concert venue and event center, an attached four-story parking garage with 1,300 vehicle capacity, and a state-of-the-art HVAC system. Throughout the building, guests will also find traditional and contemporary Coast Salish art and architectural elements designed by Puyallup tribal members.

Expected to be completed by this summer, a 12-story, 150-200 room hotel is under construction adjacent to the casino and will include an additional 700 vehicles parking stalls.

COVID-19 precautions:

On March 16, both the Fife and Tacoma Emerald Queen Casino locations were temporarily shut down by the Tribal Council out of concern for public safety. According to the Kent Reporter, safety measures including limiting attendance, temperature scans upon entry, frequent surface sanitization, and required face coverings for guests and staff, will be employed at the new casino and are similar to those enacted at the Fife location when it re-opened on May 18.

Complimentary shuttle service:

According to the news agency, to aid in mitigating potential traffic issues, free shuttle service to the new Tacoma location from EQC in Fife is being offered by the Tribe.

The new casino creates hundreds of jobs and millions for the local economy.

After being purchased by the tribe in 1996, the original Emerald Queen riverboat made its way from the Mississippi River, through the Panama Canal and eventually to the Port of Tacoma in Washington State. There, it served gamblers until it was closed in 2005, after a year earlier, then-Governor Gary Locke signed off on an agreement to allow the Tribe to relocate the casino to the city of Fife, which is contained within the Puyallup Indian Reservation.