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Joint Tribal Casino Project Underway Beside Travel Plaza in Nevada

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A joint tribal venture will place a small casino next to the Washoe Tribe's upcoming travel plaza along Highway 395 in Nevada near the California border.

The goal is for travelers to make a pit-stop at the Washoe's convenience store and gas station in Gardnerville, Nevada, and then try their luck at the neighboring casino.

The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, whose headquarters are based in Gardnerville, has partnered with the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians on the gaming project, located on Washoe land in Nevada. The facility will be built and managed by the Poarch Creeks, who will pay rent and taxes to the Washoes, reported Indianz.com.

The casino will sit beside the $11.78 million, 6,000-square-foot Wa She Shu Travel Plaza that's currently under construction and scheduled to open in March 2016.

“On the travel plaza side, we hope it will generate traffic for us and the existing businesses,” Mahlon Machado, off-reservation Washoe tribal representative, told tahoedailytribune.com. “We hope they see the facilities and they stop.”

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It was after serious consideration that the Washoes partnered with the Poarch Creeks. “We went through a series of interviews and meetings with other groups,” Machado said of the Washoes hunt for a tribe to run the gaming facility.

The Poarch Creek Indian (PCI) Gaming Authority runs three gaming facilities in Alabama, including: the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore, Creek Casino Wetumpka, and Creek Casino Montgomery. Meanwhile its Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA) oversees the non-gaming enterprises owned by the tribe, such as in Artmore: Muskogee Inn near the Wind Creek Hotel and Casino; Muskogee Techonology; Perdido River Arms, the tribe's agricultural arm; the Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve; Creek Convenience Store Atmore, featuring multiple drive-through windows; and Creek Convenience Store Wetumpka, a full-sized convenience store and gas station located directly behind Wind Creek Wetumpka.

Under the Wind Creek Hospitality brand, the Poarch Creek Band operates six properties throughout the state of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. In addition to its three major casinos in Alabama, the tribe's other gaming-related facilities including Creek Entertainment Gretna, a racing and poker facility in Gretna, Florida; Mobile Greyhound Park, a greyhound-racing track in Theodore, Alabama; and Pensacola Greyhound Track and Poker Room in Pensacola, Florida.

In addition, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is building a $200 million entertainment and sports complex in Foley, Alabama. The Foley Sports Tourism Complex will cover 520 acres and feature a 108,000 square-foot event center, 16 sports fields, an amusement park, an RV park, restaurants, retail, a hotel and, eventually, a water park.

The opening of the Washoe-Poarch Creek tribal casino will follow the debut of the Washoe's travel plaza. The casino will be the fourth gaming property in Carson Valley. Machado anticipates hiring about 80 people to help staff the casino and roughly 20 for the travel plaza.

"We hope it’s a catalyst for things to come,” Arthur Mothershed, a Poarch Creek council member who works on economic development projects for the tribe, told The Gardnerville Record-Courier. “We hope it will become a more attractive place for people to stop.”