Bigger and Better: Expansions, Renovations Underway at Tribal Resort Casinos

Courtesy Rodrigo Pena Photography / Soboba Tribal Chairman Scott Cozart, Vice-Chair Isaiah Vivanco, Sergeant at Arms Rose Salgado, and Treasurer Kelli Hurtado break ground on the tribe’s new replacement casino & hotel complex at the Soboba Reservation near San Jacinto, California

Indian Country Today

Across Indian country, tribal resort casinos are investing in more entertainment, accommodations and luxury.

In the casino world, bigger is better, and more is more. From every corner and swath of Indian country, tribes are expanding and renovating their tribal resort casinos. Think more hotel rooms, more gaming options, more restaurants and buffets, and more luxury.

Below are five of the most recent and largest expansions, renovations and groundbreakings.

Soboba Casino

San Jacinto, CA 92583

(866) 476-2622

In 1983 the Soboba Tribe of San Jacinto, California cautiously ventured into Indian Gaming with humble beginnings, a simple bingo hall in a temporary sprung structure and pre-fabricated trailer. On Tuesday February 28, after 22 years of struggles and challenges, legal battles and negotiations, changes and building, the Tribe and casino management proudly broke ground to mark the beginning of the construction of a modern, permanent casino-resort.

The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, who have long aspired and fought to replace their current facility, celebrated the official ground breaking of the new property on the corner of Lake Park Drive and Soboba Road with an invitation only ceremony on February 28, 2017. The new resort-casino will be located just a few miles from the current casino property.

The modern, expansive gaming, hospitality, and entertainment complex will feature an 83,500 square foot casino floor with 2,000 slot machines and 24 table games, surrounded by eateries, bars, a sports lounge, a high limit room and many other indoor and outdoor amenities. The new state of the art hotel will feature over 200 rooms and suites.

The new facility will generate hundreds of new job opportunities and millions of dollars of economic stimulus for the local community, an opportunity which the City of San Jacinto is welcoming with open arms. During the ground breaking event Scott Miller, Mayor of San Jacinto, California issued a heartfelt vow of support and approval to the Soboba Tribe. “Long after all of us are gone, your legacy will go on. This center will become the diamond of this valley, a place to enjoy, refresh and relax. You are helping fulfill the purpose of this valley, for people to get away and rejuvenate their souls,” Mayor Miler said.

Yakama Nation Legends Casino

580 Fort Rd

Toppenish, WA 98948

(509) 865-8800

The renovated hotel is the crown jewel of Yakama Nation Legends Casino’s $90 million expansion. Those some patrons might argue that the expanded buffet is the real attraction.

Located in eastern Washington, the Yakama Nation Legends Casino has added 200 new hotel rooms and suites across six stories, plus a conference center. The rooms have a modern, upscale design that incorporates elements of tribal culture, featuring art and other displays about the Yakama Nation’s history and culture. Other changes include site development, casino gaming space additions, a refresh of the existing casino, restaurant upgrades, and a back-of-house expansion.

Quinault Beach Resort & Casino

78 WA-115

Ocean Shores, WA 98569

(360) 289-9466

Situated on a private beach minutes away from popular Ocean Shores, Washington, Quinault Beach Resort & Casino has broken ground on its $25 million expansion. The first phase of development includes a new circular bar, expanded gaming area and devices including a “smoke-free” gaming area, a Quinault-themed buffet and an expanded kitchen. The expansion project will employ more than 100 laborers during the construction and ultimately bring up to 70 new jobs to the region.

The expansion follows the completion of a 159-room remodel at the resort. The expansion is projected to bring thousands of new visitors to the area. “The Quinault Indian Nation is committed to providing the citizens of Grays Harbor County as well as visitors an outstanding and memorable experience here in our beautiful area on the Pacific Ocean. We invest in our resort so people will find maximum comfort and have a truly enjoyable base from which they can enjoy the entertainment of the casino, a walk on the beach or a hike in the forest, the shops of Ocean Shores or bird watching at the estuary. There is so much to do here, and as the resort continues to expand so does the value of the experience. The Quinault Nation invites everyone to come join us and enjoy our traditional hospitality,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation.

Seneca Buffalo Creek

1 Fulton St.

Buffalo, NY 14204

(877) 873-6322

The Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino unveiled its expanded gaming floor and new restaurants in early March. Upon entering the $40 million renovated casino, a massive LED monitor, 20 feet by 10 feet, highlights images of Seneca Nation heritage, as well as the casino’s progress.

New slot machines and card tables will bolster revenues for the Seneca Nation, which provides millions of dollars and jobs to Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca.

Gun Lake Casino

1123 129th Ave.

Wayland, MI 49348

(269) 792-7777

Gun Lake’s $76 million expansion is slated for completion this summer. Its Harvest Buffet, billed as ‘not your regular casino buffet,’ is part of a 73,000-square-foot expansion for the casino. Expect more gaming space and a new bar as well. Once the expansion is completed, it will nearly double the size of the existing 83,000-square-foot casino.

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