The Puyallup Tribe has recently become one of the best feel-good success stories in the gaming industry. In the mid-1990s, they managed to open the Emerald Queen Riverboat, their first casino. While it was a modest project in its nascent years, this venue grew into a true enterprise, allowing players to bask in a variety of table games and slots.
After being closed for a brief period of time in 2005, the Emerald Queen Casino Riverboat was reopened, but it was just setting the stage for the tribe’s first land casino. Set to open in December, the Emerald Queen Casino is set to provide visitors with a state of the art gaming experience, while also having a transformative effect on the entire state of Washington.
A Long Time Coming
When the tribe purchased the old Emerald Queen Casino riverboat, they knew this venture would be a somewhat excruciating journey. Even the boat’s arrival symbolized this, as the old vessel was transported along the Mississippi River and squeezed through the Panama Canal before finally settling at the Port of Tacoma. This iconic boat added a sort of vintage charm to the entire casino, giving the Puyallup Tribe a myriad of options when it came to branding. Thanks to a series of clever decisions, they turned the old riverboat into a true attraction.
In 2005, the tribe closed the casino, with aims to relocate it somewhere within the Puyallup Indian Reservation. Their wishes finally came true when then-Governor G. Locke approved a proposed move to the city of Fife, which is the largest settlement in the tribe’s reservation.
Around this time, they were still short on capital, so there were no prospects of opening a new casino without outside financing. In order to keep their earnings to themselves and conduct business the way they wanted to, the Puyallup Tribe rejected several high-profile offers from companies all over the North American continent. Some of them, according to reports, even wanted a 40% share of the proposed casino’s annual profits.
Instead of rushing, the tribe’s officials took their time until they gathered enough funds to kickstart the Emerald Queen Casino. In a statement for Q13 FOX News, the casino’s general manager, Frank Wright, said the opening was “a dream come true.”
One of the main reasons why the Puyallup Tribe rejected a myriad of offers is because they wanted to contribute to the local economy. With the new Emerald Queen Casino set to see its first customers in a few weeks, it’s safe to say that their plan worked. Located by I-5, the venue is set to attract a myriad of tourists because of its accessible locations.
Wright said that the casino will create hundreds of new jobs, while the revenue will be distributed between local communities. In addition to the benefits to Tacoma natives and tourists alike, this move is another victory for Native Americans across the country. Previously, the San Miguel Band of Mission Indians signed a deal with the Oakland Raiders, which was deemed as a remarkable move by most industry experts.
A Lot to Brag About
The new 310,000 sq ft casino is an architectural marvel. Even the restrooms are worth bragging about, as the general manager mentioned that there were more stalls than in any casino in the country. He laughed after this remark but said that he was just so excited and wanted to show the public how much the tribe cared about every detail.
The facility will also include a 24-hour cafe, a 2,000-set event center, and multiple parking garages. Even though the Puyallup Tribe worked more than two decades to accomplish this, they finally reached the finish line.