Washoe Tribe wants to build Northern Nevada's first tribal casino

MINDEN -- The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California has announced plans to build northern Nevada's first tribal casino on a 24-acre site it owns along Highway 395 just south of Carson City.

Plans call for the Golden Feather Casino to be managed by the Holder Hospitality Group, which owns six Nevada casinos, including Sharkey's Casino in Gardnerville and the Silver Club Hotel Casino in Sparks.

Plans for the first phase include a 15,000-square-foot casino with 200 slots and a 24-hour restaurant, an RV park, gas station and convenience store.

The master plan calls for a 12,000-square-foot addition within five years, and 40,000 square feet of gambling with 900 slots and a buffet within a decade.

Washoe Tribal Chairman Brian Wallace said he had some doubts about getting into the gambling industry, even though tribal members approved the casino.

Casino revenues will provide the tribe's nearly 2,000 members with scholarships, health care, senior citizen meals, cultural resource protection and language preservation.

"We are not in a position to overlook any opportunity," Wallace told a Reno newspaper. "We look at things that benefit the members and have the least impact on tribal land."

Garrett Furuichi, the tribe's economic development director, said he hopes to begin construction within the year. But he stressed that the tribe still must obtain approval from various commissions.

"We're moving forward as fast as we can, but it's too early to determine a date," Furuichi told Gardnerville's Record-Courier. "We hope to open as soon as possible."

Holder President Bruce Dewing said he doesn't think table games are needed, and the tribe has submitted an application for a slots-only compact with the state.

Construction at the northern Douglas County site will begin after the tribe works out financing, Dewing added.

"Nobody in the Washoe Tribe has ever run a casino before," he said. "This will be a training ground for future generations. The Washoe Tribe is very progressive in developing their youth."

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has not sent the compact to Gov. Kenny Guinn for his signature, said Guinn spokesman Greg Bortolin.

Nevada's largest tribal casino -- the Avi Resort & Casino south of Laughlin -- opened in 1995. The state's first tribal casino, it's operated by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, with has about 1,100 members in Nevada, California and Arizona.


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