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Hooters plans mini-casino

The Hooters restaurant under construction just east of the Spokane Valley Mall will include an adjoining mini-casino called The Owl Club, which could be a first for the national chain.

“This is the first foray for Hooters into gaming that I’m aware of,” said Fred Glick, president of HootWINC LLC, the Oceanside, Calif.-based franchisee that operates 20 Hooters restaurants in four states. “Spokane, Wash., is the guinea pig.”

However, the national chain plans to open a Las Vegas casino in the summer of 2006, he added.

The house-banked card room in Spokane Valley will comprise about 6,000 square feet and will include a bar, three poker tables and 12 card tables dealing games like blackjack.

The Owl Club will be next door to the Hooters restaurant, which also will be about 6,000 square feet and will serve a full menu, including its famed hot wings. Known for its tight-T-shirt-wearing waitresses, Hooters describes itself as “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.”

The company Web site says more than two-thirds of its customers are men aged 25 to 54.

HootWINC bought three acres of land from Spokane’s Hanson Industries and work has already begun on the foundation, Glick said. The parcel was larger than what was needed for the restaurant so the company researched other possible businesses, he said.

“We think we have a unique opportunity, not just in Spokane, but in the state of Washington to bring a nationally recognized name to the card room business and make it fun and execute good service,” Glick said. “Poker is getting more and more recognized because it’s on TV all the time now.”

HootWINC hired the general manager of a Tacoma-area casino to run The Owl Club.

The restaurant and casino should open in July.


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