Casinos are a continually expanding aspect of our local economy

These are not your grandma’s casinos

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

We here at The Index rarely write about casinos, and I can’t say that I personally look forward to spending time in a windowless hallway crammed with machines that flicker frenetically as they continuously chirp, ding and trill – and absorb money like a massive black hole with access to our bank accounts.

The mood I’ve noticed over many years and several different casinos is one of financial desperation mixed with jackpot fantasies with a side order of resignation as the wheels spin and our (presumably) hard earned money evaporates with the sweep of a screen or the hands of a dealer.

Many municipalities, from cities to states to entire nations, ban, control or promote casinos.

Our stock market has been compared to a casino at times.

And our current president has made (and lost) vast amounts of money through casinos.

The cliché about gambling is that the house always wins.

That might be true for most of us as customers, but with Donald Trump at the helm, even casinos lose money.

In the tax year 1995, he reported a loss of almost a billion dollars for the year. (1*)  That’s over a quarter of a million dollars a day – for 365 days.

I’m not sure how smart of a business move that was, but in terms of taxes, it was nothing short of brilliant – this loss allowed him to avoid federal income taxes for almost 20 years.

Casinos are inherently designed to inhale money by the (literal) truckload, but somehow Mr. Trump deflated Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, California, Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana, Trump Marina in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  (2*)

His final casino, The Trump Taj Mahal, the “8th wonder of the world” closed and was sold for four cents on the dollar.  (3*)

I can’t quite grasp how a casino, let alone several of them, could lose money.

Aficionados of the hotdog will find their wildest fantasies fulfilled at The Deli at Muckleshoot Casino. Photo: Morf Morford
Aficionados of the hotdog will find their wildest fantasies fulfilled at The Deli at Muckleshoot Casino. Photo: Morf Morford

Any business, one would think, would be set up with the intention of making money, and a business that can set its own terms and whose market is eager to spend and whose product is literal money – and financial delusions of wealth – would have near infinite success.

In our area we have several small casinos and a few large ones – in fact the largest one in the region, far beyond our state’s borders is expanding further still.

Our state has fairly strict laws regarding casinos, but these laws do not apply on tribal lands.

Use of tribal lands is extremely restricted, but Congressionally approved treaties do allow gaming establishments.

We have several large scale casinos within a short drive of Pierce County.

Among them is the Tulalip Casino, visible from I-5 near Marysville, Quinault Beach Casino which lies on the way to Ocean Shores, and the Nisqually Red Wind Casino which  is near Olympia.

The huge construction project just north of I-5 near the Tacoma Dome is courtesy of the expansion of the Emerald Queen Casino, which, besides gambling, has become a concert venue (including a concert by Tower of Power on December 20).

You too could unleash the Triple Fortune Dragon at Muckleshoot.  Photo: Morf Morford
You too could unleash the Triple Fortune Dragon at Muckleshoot. Photo: Morf Morford

Not to be outdone by any of these is the Muckleshoot Casino which first opened in April 1995 and is owned and operated by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary, (April 2020) the Muckleshoot Casino has in development its own hotel and concert venue.

Expected to open in the second quarter of 2021, the new 18-story, 400-room hotel tower will offer sweeping views showcasing the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Sixty percent of the accommodations will allow for stunning panoramas of Tahoma, the native name for Mount Rainier, while other rooms will showcase the majesty of the Olympics.

The first phase of the project will add a 20,000-square-foot, technologically advanced events center (seating about 2,300), three fast-casual dining destinations, a high-energy center bar, and much more. Don’t miss the carefully curated cultural gallery that will present the history and journey of the Muckleshoot Tribe. The completion of the expansion’s first phase is expected in spring 2020.

Our local casinos are not just for gaming. From spas to concerts and fine dining, entertainment of all kinds is waiting for you.





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