Editorial: Washington doesn't need another off-reservation casino

Spokane Tribe Chairman Randy Peone. Photo from Spokane Tribe Economic Project / Facebook

Washington newspaper calls on Gov. Jay Inslee (D) to reject an off-reservation casino for the Spokane Tribe because the Kalispel Tribe already has one:
The Kalispel Tribe was allowed to build the Northern Quest Casino off its reservation, which is near Usk. At the time – the mid-1990s – that decision was considered an exception to the rule. The Kalispels have little land suitable for commercial development, so they were given a rare break.

But if the Spokanes are given the same consideration, then the exception becomes the rule, and that irony noted by Washburn would be cited in future applications by tribes throughout the state. On what basis could either the feds or the governor turn down a tribe if it could demonstrate that off-reservation land was once its homeland?

Casino proponents suggest this issue is a simple matter of equity. But in the grand scheme, the governor is between a Hard Rock and a hard place. The questions for him are much larger. How much gambling do we want in Washington? What are the overall impacts?

The Kalispels claim a second casino would cripple economic development efforts that have lifted the tribe out of poverty. The Spokanes say there is room for both to grow and thrive. That point of contention will probably land this dispute in court, with the governor’s decision determining who the plaintiffs will be. But that aspect of this controversy doesn’t address non-tribal impacts.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Inslee should reject second casino in Airway Heights (The Spokesman-Review 7/9)

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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Spokane Tribe partners with Hard Rock for off-reservation casino (6/29)
Spokane Tribe faces another hurdle in off-reservation casino bid (6/17)
Spokane Tribe finally wins BIA approval for off-reservation casino (6/16)
Spokane Tribe still waiting on decision for off-reservation casino (6/12)

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