Tribal casinos switching to Vegas-style slots

TULALIP — Gamblers who pine for Las Vegas-style slots in Snohomish County will soon have their wish granted.

The slot-style machines at the Tulalip Casino, Quil Ceda Creek Casino and Angel of the Winds Casino will soon take cash, just like those in Nevada. Between now and then, gamblers won’t have to juggle between different tickets required to use machines provided by different vendors. The machines are all being updated so they can each accept any ticket.

“The guest will have a more seamless experience, just like they do anywhere outside Washington,” said Marci Fryberg, executive vice president of gaming at Tulalip Casino.

Once the machines are adjusted to accept cash directly, gamblers will have a Vegas-style experience, said Don Hegnes, director of slot operations for the Tulalip and Quil Ceda Creek casinos, both owned by the Tulalip Tribes.

Twenty-seven Washington State Indian tribes signed an agreement with state leaders last year that allows them to operate more gaming machines and raise machine bets to $20 in exchange for contributions to state gambling addiction and smoking programs, said Amy Hunter, spokeswoman for the state Gambling Commission.

That agreement also allows tribes to alter their slot-style machines to take cash directly. Since tribal casinos first opened here in 1992, gamblers have had to purchase tickets at kiosks in order to play.

It’s taken a year to implement new technology to make the changes, Fryberg said. It’s not clear exactly when the Tulalip Tribes’ slot-style machines will accept cash.

“We’re working diligently on the project and we hope to have it done soon,” she said.

Until then, gamblers at both Tulalip casinos will be able to use any ticket to play at any machine. The machines at the casinos have confused out-of-town gamblers who were forced to juggle the three types of tickets required to use machines provided by three different vendors.

All 800 machines at Quil Ceda Creek Casino now accept all three tickets. The Tulalip Casino’s 2,025 machines will accept all three tickets soon, Fryberg said.

Machines at the Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington will accept cash within a month, said Jeff Wheatley, the casino’s director of gaming. The casino has 540 machines now, but will have 1,000 by year’s end, when an expansion that is expected to quadruple the casino’s size should be completed.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or

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