OMAK — The Colville Tribal Enterprise Corp. will break ground on a new $50 million casino and restaurant in Omak this spring, slated to be the largest of the three casinos now owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
The new 50,000-square-foot casino — as yet unnamed — will take more than a year to build, but when it opens next year, plans call for 500 gaming machines along with a restaurant and a lounge with dancing, plus a deli-style Asian restaurant, said CTEC’s director of gaming Randy Williams.
“Our goal is to capture all of the traffic coming to the 2010 Olympics” in Vancouver, B.C., said Brian Clark, vice chairman of CTEC’s board of directors.
The CTEC officials said Wednesday that they eventually hope to add a hotel and convention center.
For now, it will be considered the tribe’s flagship casino, because it will be the tribe’s largest and first permanent gaming facility, Clark said.
The Mill Bay Casino, Coulee Dam Casino and Okanogan Bingo Casino are all considered temporary, and were meant to be replaced once the tribe signed a compact with the state on its casino allowances, he said.
CTEC hopes to replace Mill Bay and Coulee Dam casinos in the next five to 10 years, but there are no plans currently, he said.
The pact signed in 2002 allows the Colvilles to have up to 4,800 video gaming machines, which replaced coin-operated slots. According to the CTEC’s Web page, the Mill Bay Casino has 330 gaming machines, the Okanogan-Bingo Casino has 215, and the Coulee Dam Casino has 120.
Clark said CTEC has been working out plans with Omak and Okanogan County officials, along with the state Department of Transportation in an attempt to get a new exit off Highway 97 that would lead directly to the casino, just south of the Omak city limits on the Colville Indian Reservation.
He said there have been no objections from any of the governments to any of the plans.
“The employees and the customers, these guys are really excited about this new casino. Some of us have been waiting for a while. Now it’s going to finally come, and people are going to see it happen this year,” said CTEC spokeswoman Michelle Campobasso.
Clark said the new casino has been in the works for about two years, but CTEC was waiting until it secured funding.
Clark and Williams said the Spokane architecture and engineering firm Womer and Associates Inc. is designing the building, and CTEC will look for a contractor to coordinate construction, much of which will be done by the CTEC’s own construction company.
Williams said the new casino will not replace the Okanogan Bingo Casino, but only some of the gaming machines will remain in the Okanogan facility, which will be remodeled to better accommodate Bingo players.
He said that casino — significantly smaller than the planned Omak casino — gets lots of local business and players from Canada, along with people visiting the Okanogan Valley in the summer.
Williams said he doesn’t know how many people CTEC will hire to work in the new casino and its restaurants. CTEC will start work as soon as the ground thaws, possibly as early as March, and plans to open the new casino in the fall of 2009, he said.