The casino’s profits have actually increased during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a project to double the size of its current facility.
AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — As coronavirus restrictions remain in place for restaurants and bars across Washington state, business rolls on at the Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights.
They are doing so well that they will be doubling in size, according to their general manager Javier De La Rosa.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s curfew of 11 p.m. for alcohol service affects every bar in the state, unless they are on reservations. The casino is open until 3 a.m.
It is built on Spokane Tribal Exclusive Aboriginal Territory and owned and operated by the Spokane Tribe of Indians. The governor ‘s COVID-19 guidelines do not apply since they have tribal sovereignty.
“It’s one of the few establishments in the area that is open and allows us to come out, socialize, drink responsibly and hang out with friends,” said casino guest Jeremiah Docken.
Docken is one of the many customers taking advantage of the casino’s relaxed rules during the pandemic.
“We’ve benefited from being, you know the one of the few entertainment options within this area,” De La Rosa added.
Business has been great for the casino, with profits around 10% more than average every month. With how well they are doing, they have decided to double the size of the current facility.
They will be adding in another restaurant and an area for sports betting, which was legalized in early 2020.
“Needless to say, with that expansion comes 300 new jobs in the area,” De La Rosa said. “That’s we’re most excited about, the jobs.”
The casino still follows most of Inslee’s guidelines. They require temperature checks at the doors, enforce masks and cleaning off areas consistently.
“During the pandemic, it’s been an area that’s open [and] accessible to us, so it makes it nice,” Docken said. “I wish that many other places would have had that same option.”
The expansion should be completed by the fall of 2021, De La Rosa said.