The Cowlitz Tribe celebrated the opening of a ballroom at its ilani gaming facility in Ridgefield, Washington, on April 5, 2018. Photo: ilani

Gaming market in Oregon survives after Cowlitz Tribe opens casino

The Cowlitz Tribe recently celebrated the first anniversary of its gaming facility in Washington, a development that neighbors in Oregon feared would cause all sorts of problems.

But it turns out that the Oregon Lottery and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have survived. Although both entities have seen a decline in revenues and visits, it was far less than anticipated, Willamette Weekly reported.

Specifically, Oregon Lottery revenues in the area along the Oregon-Washington border in the Portland region fell 15 percent, instead of the anticipated 40 percent. And revenues at the Spirit Mountain Casino, owned by Grand Ronde, are down 17 percent, the tribe's Smoke Signals newspaper previously reported. Again, that was less than expected.

"It is challenging to do a full and accurate postmortem on the reasons for such a large error. Many factors influenced the forecast itself and the grand opening and rollout of the casino was not without issues either," a newly released report from the Oregon State Office of Economic Analysis read. "That said there was a clear forecast mistake."


The Cowlitz Tribe debuted ilani in April 2017. Located in Ridgefield, Washington, it's the closest Indian gaming facility to Portland, Oregon.

The Grand Ronde Tribes have long depended on the Portland market for visitors. Concerns about competition helped fuel a long-running lawsuit that sought to derail the Cowlitz casino.

The courts, however, sided repeatedly with the tribe and the federal government. Grand Ronde dropped the case after losing a key ruling, and non-Indian opponents were unable to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review the matter.

Read More on the Story:
The Cowlitz Tribe’s Ilani Resort Casino Has Hurt Oregon Lottery and Spirit Mountain Casino Less than Expected (Willamette Weekly May 25, 2018)

Legal challenge to Cowlitz Tribe's casino

Indianz.Com on SoundCloud: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments in Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon v. Sally Jewell

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon v. Jewell (July 29, 2016)

Related Stories:
Tribes continue to weigh impact of Supreme Court ruling on sports betting (May 18, 2018)
Cowlitz Tribe debuts event center as it celebrates casino anniversary (April 10, 2018)
Cowlitz Tribe on track to open event center on first anniversary of gaming facility (November 28, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe reports strong turnouts a month after casino debut (May 31, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes big crowd to $510M casino in Washington (April 25, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe enters law enforcement deal as casino debut nears (April 19, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe announces April 24 opening for long-awaited casino (April 17, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe unveils $32M highway project as casino debut nears(April 5, 2017
Indian Country secures victory with end to long-running land case (April 3, 2017)

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