Tribes continue to cement its footprint in the US gambling industry with a series of casino expansions across the country.
Our first stop takes us to Washington State, where the Spokane Tribe of Indians announced its plan to break ground this fall a $400 million casino in the suburb of Airway Heights.
The Associated Press reported that the Tribe targets to open the first phase of the casino project, which will have 450 slot machines and 12 game tables, in 2017. Tribal Chairwoman Carol Evans said that the new off-reservation casino will help lift their members out of poverty and benefit the entire region.
The project, which will be developed by phases over 10 years, has won the final approval from Gov. Jay Inslee last month after the U.S. Department of Interior approved it last year.
Over in South Dakota, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is expanding its operations after they have inked an agreement with Gov. Dennis Daugaard to offer 1,000 slot machines at its Flandreau casino. That would be double the 500 currently allowed. In return, the tribal government is willing to pay Moody County an escalating amount.
Community paper Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan estimated that the county will get $350,000 contribution for the full 1,000 machines. Before, the Flandreau casino operates with 500 games.
The $350,000 for Moody County would appear to be the largest amount so far that would be given in any one year by a tribal government to a non-tribal government in South Dakota from its casino operation.
Still in South Dakota, the state government and Yankton Sioux Tribe will hold a public hearing for a proposed compact, which aims to maintain its 500 slot machines. Consequently there isn’t any requirement of a contribution to a non-tribal government.
As for Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, the State now allows them to maintain a total of 750 slot machines at the tribe’s two casino locations in South Dakota near Watertown and Sisseton.
Under the agreement, Sisseton Oyate will increase its slot machines by 20 starting in 2018 and expected is to complete the expansion of 850 machines in 2022. In exchange, Oyate will have to pay Codington County and Roberts County for more than 500 machines.
Records showed that money remitted to the two county reached $150,000 in 2013, with Codington receiving $112,500 and Roberts $37,500. For 2014 through 2016, Codington was to receive $150,000 per year and Roberts $50,000 per year.
In 2017 and 2018, the deal called for $225,000 annually to Codington and $75,000 annually to Roberts. For 2019 through 2022, the arrangement designated $300,000 each year to Codington and $100,000 each year to Roberts.