Cowlitz Tribe Gets Government Approval To Conduct Gambling
This week it was announced that the Cowlitz Tribe in Southwest Washington has been given government approval to do gambling. The tribe was given permission to establish a 152-acre reservation on Interstate 5 near La Center and build a mega-casino complex. This decision by the Department of Interior will allow the tribe to conduct Class II gaming in the form of slot machines, card games such as poker and blackjack, horse and dog racing. The casino could be operating within three years if construction plans go well.
Not everyone shared their opinion. Gambling foes across the state have expressed their disapproval, while the Cowlitz Tribe was naturally thrilled with the most momentous decision of its history by the government since it was recognized as a tribe in 2000. Even though tribal casinos nationwide have been ravaged by financial difficulties during the recession, the Cowlitz have partnered with the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut and the Paskenta Band of the Nomlaki Indians of California.
To the Grand Ronde Tribe’s casino, Spirit Mountain in Oregon, the Cowlitz casino will also pose a direct threat. Justin Martin, a spokesman for the tribe said, “It would clearly mean a significant economic impact for us and for Oregon.” The Grande Ronde stated that, as any tribes recognized after 1934 are not allowed to take land out of trust, the Cowlitz do not have the legal authority to operate a casino,. The Cowlitz replied that: “Obviously the federal government didn’t think that’s the case or they wouldn’t have issued the decision.”