Cowlitz Indian Tribe may drop Mohegan as ilani Casino Resort’s gaming operator

Cowlitz Indian Tribe may drop Mohegan as ilani Casino Resort’s gaming operator

Washington State’s Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which owns Ridgefield-based ilani Casino Resort, has confirmed that its officials are mulling the possibility of separating from their longtime gaming partner Mohegan.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe received federal recognition in the year of 2000, and hit a management partnership deal with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which is simply called Mohegan, in 2004.

Mohegan has been operating the ilani Casino Resort since the tribe opened its doors in the year of 2017. The partnership deal is scheduled to expire in June 2024. Now, the tribe’s officials are mulling whether the tribe has the management expertise to operate the gambling-friendly property on its own.

Owned by the Connecticut-based federally-recognized Mohegan Tribe, the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is a gaming & hospitality management firm. Along with ilani Casino Resort, Mohegan is responsible for its namesake Mohegan Sun Casino Resort in Connecticut, the Mohegan Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Mohegan Pennsylvania in Wilkes-Barre, Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls (Ontario).

In a brief statement posted on its official website, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe has confirmed that it is mulling a decision to separate from its longtime operating partner Mohegan, but no decision has been made yet.

The Cowlitz India Tribe states, “The Cowlitz Tribal Council and Cowlitz Tribal Gaming Commission spent the past weekend in a joint executive work session to discuss gaming management agreements. A public vote on the gaming management agreement will take place at an upcoming Tribal Council meeting. No decision on gaming management has been made by Tribal Council at this time.”

The ilani Casino Resort became operational just a few years back, but it has become one of the most successful gaming properties in the northwest part of the U.S., thanks to its close immediacy to Portland. Spanning more than 110,000 square feet, the casino offers approximately 3,000 slot machines, 75 table games, and a state-of-the-art sportsbook.

As the casino is owned by a federally-recognized tribal nation (a sovereign nation), it is not required to disclose its business data and precise gaming revenue information publically. However, the tribe’s Class III gaming compact with the state requires it to share 2 per cent of its net table gaming profit with the state. But, ilani is presumed to be generating GGR of around $300 million per annum. Roughly a quarter (24%) of ilani Casino Resort’s net revenues goes to its operator, the Mohegan.

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