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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Tribe Casino completes expansion; new casino floor opening Monday

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 29, 2021

Chris Marzotto, marketing director for the Spokane Tribe Casino, stands in the completed expansion that adds 20,000 square feet of additional gaming space, a new restaurant and sportsbook featuring a giant video board.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Chris Marzotto, marketing director for the Spokane Tribe Casino, stands in the completed expansion that adds 20,000 square feet of additional gaming space, a new restaurant and sportsbook featuring a giant video board. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The Spokane Tribe has completed the second phase in its plan to develop a hotel-casino property in Airway Heights.

The Spokane Tribe Casino on Monday is unveiling its expansion, which doubles the size of its casino floor with 20,000-square feet of additional gaming space. It brings a larger nonsmoking gaming area, dedicated poker room, new dining option and sports betting area.

The Spokane Tribe broke ground on the project, which cost more than $30 million, last year.

“The overall feedback has been people like us and appreciate the safety measures we did with COVID, but a complaint was we were just too small,” said Christopher Marzotto, marketing director of Spokane Tribe Casino. The expansion “allows us to spread out and give more amenities to players.”

The casino added more than 300 new slot machines and six table games. The casino will be reopening its craps table in late November, Marzotto said.

However, not all of the casino’s new amenities will open Monday. It’s in the process of hiring more staff and finalizing a partnership with “an industry-leading sportsbook partner” to bring sports betting to the casino, Marzotto said.

The Spokane Tribe received federal approval last month that allows sports wagering on tribal grounds.

When complete in November, the sportsbook is anticipated to be a significant draw to the casino, Marzotto said.

“I’m sure a lot of the players here will enjoy having the new amenity,” he said. “We’ll have a big TV board going in that will be able to be viewed throughout the casino.”

Whaluks, a casino-floor bar, will be rebranded into the Grill, a quick-service restaurant connected to the sports wagering area, Marzotto said.

The Grill’s menu will consist of sandwiches, burgers, nachos, soups and salads, among other items.

Warner Gaming spearheaded development of the expansion project. Swinerton Builders of Spokane was the project contractor. The Minnesota-based Cuningham Group designed the expansion.

The casino expansion is expected to create more than 150 new jobs, Marzotto said.

The casino will hold a grand opening celebration in the near future after all amenities are open, Marzotto said.

The project is the second phase of the Spokane Tribe’s $400 million economic development plan that calls for a hotel, convention center, dining, retail stores, entertainment center and a cultural center on the 145-acre site on U.S. Highway 2.

When complete in 2025, the Spokane Tribe’s hotel-casino property is expected to generate more than 2,000 jobs, Marzotto said.

“It’s a really exciting time to see the development and progress made, and there’s a bright future that’s ahead,” he said.

The West Plains is one of the fastest growing areas of the state with more than $750 million invested in land and buildings within the past two years, said Mark Losh, executive director of the West Plains Chamber of Commerce.

Losh said he thinks the casino expansion is a boon for the community.

“Anytime that one of the businesses on the West Plains expands and grows means more economic development and jobs for the community,” he said. The expansion “helps overall growth on the West Plains.”

Spokane Tribe Chairwoman Carol Evans said she was excited about the project because the tribe had worked for years on obtaining approval to build the gaming complex on its ancestral homeland in Airway Heights.

“We are excited to be a part of the community and grow with Eastern Washington,” Evans said. “It’s a growing, thriving region and we’re just really excited to be able to provide a good place for people to eat a meal or have entertainment. I feel good about that and at the same time, we’re providing jobs for the area and our tribal people.”

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