Washoe casino open for business | RecordCourier.com

Washoe casino open for business

by Sarah Hauck
shauck@recordcourier.com

It took less than 10 minutes for Walker resident Judy LaBlue to sidle up to one of the brand new games at the grand opening of the Wa-She-Shu Casino on Thursday.

Lights were blinking and winnings were being raked in by more than 200 people to break in the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California's first ever casino.

"We come to town about once a week and hit all the casinos," LaBlue said. "We saw this and decided to stop and check it out."

The 4,600 square foot gaming floor houses 130 brand new games.

Stopping to get a players card, LaBlue said that the new casino will more than likely be their first stop on their weekly casino-hopping trips.

"This is really nice," she said pushing the spin button again on the game she was playing. "I think the tribe opening a casino is a great idea."

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The newest casino in the Carson Valley is also the part of the newest partnership between the Washoe Tribe and the Poarch Creek Indians.

The two teamed up to build what Vice Chairman of the Poarch Creek Indians said, a lasting relationship.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to help another tribe find and be successful," Vice Chairman Robert Mcghee said. "The Washoe is an awesome community and having that sense of community is important to both of us. It just seemed like a natural partnership."

The Poarch Creek Indians have partnered for other casino ventures, bringing their knowledge of the industry to the Washoe's business.

Creating a place that was both lucrative and entertaining were main focuses.

"This is a step in the right direction to be successful in terms of economically," Chairman of Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California Neil Mortimer said. "This is a step forward as a tribe as a whole. The casino helps us extend our abilities for a place where we have lived for hundreds of decades."

Not only will the casino push the tribe in a better financial direction as a whole, it will also help propel tribal members in their own successful directions.

Of the 70 new jobs created with the opening of the casino tribal members filled half of those positions.

"This partnership is about the livelihood of their population and tribe," Mcghee said. "This is about helping them put the best they can, back into the community."

The opening of the casino makes the Washoe the second largest gaming tribe in Nevada.

A pair of nontribal members will manage the casino and are excited about the Washoe and Poarch Creek partnership and what it means for the business.

As a first time General Manager Chris Strobbe has found the transition to the top manager easy.

"Both tribes have been awesome to work with from the very beginning," he said. "I am very fortunate to work with both the Washoe and Poarch Creek Indians."

The ease of working with a pair of tribes has spilled into the way the employee base has come about and fallen into their roles within the casino.

Creating a friendly, welcoming environment were key elements everyone involved in the project wanted.

"I feel we have the best employees in Northern Nevada," Strobbe said. "Guest service wise our employees have really wowed corporate with their skills and friendliness towards guests."

Assistant General Manager Harlan Paiz mentioned that the friendly services and top of the line games are not the only features the community will enjoy at the casino.

Having grown up in the area, Paiz is familiar with the area, but doesn't always notice it, something the casino can remind residents about.

"We have great views and a great location," he said. "I grew up here and know how beautiful this place is but I never really appreciated it. The casino really will be a stuart for the Washoe Tribe in terms of giving back and showing the community what they have to offer."

Mortimer said the project hasn't come full circle without some hesitation from tribal members, but sees the potential the casino, combined with the travel plaza, can bring to the tribe.

"The pride we see in all of the tribal members especially the elders is special," he said. "Some of them never believed they would see this kind of project created for the tribe. It is very near to all of our hearts."

The casino broke ground in October 2015 and was finished early by Gilbane Company of Providence, RI, based in Reno.

The facility mirrors the travel plaza next door.

The casino is located at 1003 Highway 395, N. in Gardnerville just south of Riverview Drive.

Players cards are available at guest services.

For more information about the facility visit http://www.WaSheShuCasino.com.