Casino could open in 2013

FRIDAY, FEB. 4, 2011

Two officials with the Spokane Tribe of Indians say their proposed West Plains casino-resort could be ready for business sometime in 2013.

Tribe Chairman Greg Abrahamson and Vice Chair Mike Spencer told a West Plains Chamber of Commerce group Thursday they hoped the doors would open in “2 to 2 ½ years.”

But they also noted it’s not a done deal. The tribe first has to obtain federal and state approval.

Tribal leaders have submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Interior to build a casino and resort on 145 acres of trust land the tribe acquired near Airway Heights in 1998.

The Kalispel Tribe, which operates the nearby Northern Quest Casino, has said it opposes allowing the Spokane Tribe to build a casino on non-reservation land. The Kalispel Tribe was able to build its casino and resort on land it bought and which the federal government later designated tribal reservation land.

Abrahamson said the proposed multiuse project, called STEP for Spokane Tribe Economic Project, would generate 1,200 jobs when completed. One-fourth of those jobs would go to tribal workers, he noted.

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