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Cowlitz Indian Tribe to open Ilani Casino Resort on April 24

Apr 15, 2017 8:38 AM

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe in Washington, along Interstate 5 near Washington’s border with Oregon, will open the long-awaited Ilani Casino Resort on April 24. Officials made the announcement Friday afternoon.

The resort is a $510 million gaming complex that includes a gaming area, performance venue and 15 restaurants, bars and retail stores, according to a news release. Guests will find 2,500 slot machines and 75 table games at the resort.

Cowlitz Tribe Chairman Bill Iyall said in the news release, "We are extremely pleased to open the doors to Ilani and provide the local community with a source for economic growth. Our destination is expected to attract over 4.5 million visitors a year, and we feel certain that local businesses will benefit from increased visitation to the area."

The tribe hopes Ilani, which in the Cowlitz language translates to "sing", as the key factor to bolstering the economic health of its 4,100 members, who are mostly scattered across western Washington. The 368,000-sq.-ft. development is projected to draw at least $200 million a year away from nearby card rooms, other tribal casinos and the Oregon Lottery. The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a challenge to the development filed by card room owners in nearby La Center, Oregon.

Iyall has projected the casino/resort will bring 1,200 new jobs to the region.

Iyall has said that Oregon has benefitted from the tax dollars paid by its contractors, including Portland-based Swinterton Builders, the casino's prime contractor, in addition to future employees who live in the state. Also, the tribe has committed to a 2 percent contribution of its net proceeds to community groups within the greater Portland metro area, which Iyall notes exceeds industry standards for charitable giving.

The Cowlitz Tribe is in partnership with the Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribe, which operates the Mohegan Sun casino complex in Connecticut and a casino in Pennsylvania. The partnership calls for an operational relationship initially, with the goal of putting the Cowlitz in full control after seven years.