Spokane Tribe still waiting on decision for off-reservation casino

Artist's rendering of the Spokane Tribe's proposed off-reservation casino in Airway Heights, Washington. Image from STEP

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is about to make a decision on the Spokane Tribe off-reservation casino, The Spokesman-Review reports.

The tribe hasn't been told to expect a decision, a spokesperson said. But the paper, citing "several government sources," reported that one might be coming soon.

“We’re hopeful, and we’re hoping that it will be soon,” spokesperson Alex Fryer told the paper.

The site plan for the West Plains Mixed-Use Development in Airway Heights, Washington. Image from STEP

The BIA published the final environmental impact statement for the West Plains Mixed-Use Development more than two years ago. Plans call for a casino, hotel, convention center, indoor pool, spa, parking and retail on the 145-acre site in Airway Heights.

The next step for the BIA would be a record of decision and approval of the tribe's land-into-trust application. But that doesn't end the tribe's quest -- the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act give Gov. Jay Inslee (D) veto authority over the project.

The Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights, Washington. Photo from Hnedak Bobo Group / Archinect

Since IGRA became law in 1988, only three tribes have opened casinos under the two-part determination process. One is the Kalispel Tribe, whose leaders oppose the Spokane casino.

The Kalispel casino, Northern Quest, is less than three miles from the Spokane site.

Get the Story:
Spokane Tribe casino decision expected shortly (The Spokesman-Review 6/12)

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Spokane Tribe of Indians West Plains Casino and Mixed Use Project, City of Airway Heights, Spokane County, WA (February 1, 2013)

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