DARRINGTON — The Sauk Suiattle Indian Tribe plans to open a casino, bingo hall and cafe this summer.
Last Chance Casino and Bingo is under construction at 5318 Chief Brown Lane, about 6 miles past Darrington along Highway 530 toward Rockport.
A grand opening is set for Sept. 1, casino manager Nino Maltos said. A celebration for tribal members will be held about a week earlier.
“The tribe has been looking to open up a facility for a long time,” Maltos said. “We’ve had a state (agreement) for years. There were a few attempts to try to open, but they weren’t successful.”
The tribe of nearly 300 members recently partnered with Willapa Bay Enterprise Corporation, the economic development arm of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. Staff for the new casino will be trained by the team that runs the Shoalwater Bay Casino on Willapa Bay in southwest Washington.
“It’s sovereign nation helping sovereign nation,” Maltos said. “They stepped up and said, ‘Hey, we’ll not only come in and wow your casino and make it look like a casino, but we’ll bring our whole management team in and make sure you’re all trained and turn-key by your opening date.’ ”
A news release from the Shoalwater Bay Casino calls the project “a landmark display of tribe-to-tribe assistance.”
The plan is to have seating for up to 70 people in the bingo hall, which will double as a venue for live shows, Maltos said. The casino will have nearly 200 slot machines and a small bar.
Job fairs are planned this summer to hire between 35 and 40 casino staff.
“I’m really excited,” Maltos said. “It’s been a long time waiting for the Sauks to get this facility. It’s going to create a lot of job opportunity, not only for tribal members, but for the town of Darrington.”
Tribal leaders have worked hard, he said. In the future, the casino could expand.
“We have a huge number of travelers that go to the east side (on Highway 20), and then we have the bikers who like to do the Mountain Loop ride, and then we have a lot of people who just want to do this drive,” Maltos said. “Our traffic flow is pretty good up here in spring and summer and fall.”