Washoes' Indian Hills Casino project moving forward

North Douglas County could have a new 15,000-square-foot casino by the end of this year, said Bruce Dewing, president of the Holder Hospitality Group.

The property is owned by the Washoe Tribe. Final agreements between Holder and the tribe were recently filed with the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C., for approval. A decision is expected in 30 to 60 days, Dewing said.

"As soon as we get approval to go forward, we'll put the project out to bid," Dewing said.

The owner of Sharkey's in Gardnerville, Holder will design, develop and manage the property. The Washoe Tribe will own the casino.

Located just south of Mica Drive on Highway 395, the project will encompass about 25 of the 75 acres owned by the Washoe Tribe at the site. Phase one includes a 200-slot machine casino, 50-space RV park, service station and convenience store.

The project is tentatively planned through four phases, which includes expanding the casino and adding a restaurant, but those plans are pending, Dewing said.

"It's entirely up to tribe," he said. "It's their casino."

Because it is tribal land, development is not subject to sanctions from the county, Dewing said.

"The tribes have a compact, signed by the governor and attorney general, to be able to operate a casino," he said. "And when operating in any county, they will build and operate the facility to county and state codes. We'll exceed code requirements when we go for building permits."

Dewing noted the tribe owns several local businesses, including a cattle and hay ranch in Jacks Valley, the Chevron station at the corner of Highway 395 and Mica Drive and Meeks Bay Resort.

He called the casino a "step up" for the Washoe and he expects it will be used as a training ground for tribal members.

"We'll be hiring as many tribal members as possible," he said. "Some time down the road, we think the tribe will run it themselves."

Brian Wallace, chairman of the Washoe Tribe, said the partnership will make an immediate and strong contribution to the Tribal Council's value-directed development strategy.

"Our responsibility is to make decisions that contribute directly to the long-term well being of our communities," he said. "Revenues generated will provide needed support to improve the quality of life and protect the interests of Washoe families throughout Washoe Country."

Contact Susie Vasquez at svasquez@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


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