The Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s in-development casino in Washington state has finally been given a name: the Ilani Resort Casino.
Work began on the new $500m gaming venue in Clark County last September but the development – a collaboration with Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) – had operated under the less than glamorous title of the Cowlitz Casino Project.
On Monday, Cowlitz spiritual leader Tanna Engdahl explained that Ilani meant ‘sing’ in the Cowlitz language. Engdahl said the tribe “have always believed in the power of singing” and hoped the property’s guests “will find their ‘inner Ilani’ upon visiting out beautiful resort.”
The casino is scheduled to open in “late spring” 2017 with a 100k-square-foot gaming floor offering 2,500 slots, 75 gaming tables, 60 high-limit slots and five VIP tables. Non-gaming amenities will include a variety of lounges, restaurants and retail facilities, as well as a 2,500-seat multi-purpose room. A second phase including a hotel will follow in three or four years.
The Cowlitz Tribal Gaming Authority has inked a seven-year development and management deal with Salishan-Mohegan LLC, a subsidiary of the MTGA. The MTGA is also the principal financier of the project.
The property will have a ‘Northwest feel’ courtesy of lots of stone, wood, natural light and ‘subtle tribal touches.’ The Friedmutter Group has been hired as the project’s architect and interior designer.
The Ilani resort will be built on a 152-acre parcel of land near the city of La Center that the federal government took into trust for the Cowlitz tribe in 2010. When complete, the Ilani resort will be the closest casino to the city of Portland.
The Cowlitz tribe fought a decade-long battle with various casino opponents who mounted legal challenges of the federal land grant. But as spiritual leader Engdahl pointed out, the Cowlitz have a traditional song for pretty much anything, but “we do not have a song for defeat.”