Spokane Tribe finally wins BIA approval for off-reservation casino

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

After nearly a decade of work, the Spokane Tribe of Washington celebrated on Monday after winning Bureau of Indian Affairs approval for an off-reservation casino.

The tribe plans to build a casino, hotel, convention center, pool, spa, parking and retail as part of the 145-acre West Plains Mixed-Use Development in Airway Heights. But another hurdle awaits -- Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has veto authority over the project under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

"We now have even more work to do, making our case to the Governor," the Spokane Tribe Economic Project said on Facebook.

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

Inslee has not stated a position on the project a spokesperson wouldn't comment about it when asked by The Spokesman-Review. He has a year to respond to the BIA's determination although extensions are possible.

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’s casino proposal gets key federal approval (The Spokesman-Review 6/16)

Relevant Documents:
BIA Two-Part Determination Letter (June 15, 2015)

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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