The Washoe Tribe has opened its first gaming facility, the Wa She Shu Casino, on Highway 395 just north of Garnerville.
The casino, whose name means “The People’s Place”, is the result of a unique tribe-to-tribe business relationship between the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Atmore, Alabama.
“Opening a casino and partnering with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is another step toward the Washoe Tribe’s long term goal of economic self-sufficiency,” remarked Washoe Tribal Chair, Neil Mortimer. He continued, “We are excited about the partnership and pleased to create job opportunities for our Tribal members, as well as local residents. The partnership between our Tribe and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama is the first of its kind. The Washoe Tribe is excited to partner with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and we are looking forward to increasing the gaming and dining experience in the Carson Valley for both residents and visitors.”
The 13,500 square foot facility boasts a 4,600 square foot gaming floor featuring 130 state-of-the-art games. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a restaurant that comfortably seats 80 guests as well as a bar. An additional 4,000 square feet is designated for future expansion of the gaming floor.
In addition to the construction jobs that the casino development produced over the past few months, the completed Wa She Shu Casino is generating approximately 70 new jobs.
Stephanie Bryan, Tribal Chair and CEO of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians said: “It wasn’t so long ago that we were building our first gaming facility in hopes that it would provide a brighter future for our people. We believe that it is part of our obligation, as Indian people, to support others in their efforts to achieve financial security. We are thrilled that we can play a role in making sure that the Washoe Tribe can use its land to better the lives of their Tribal members.”
The revenues from the casino will provide funding for essential services for Washoe Tribal Members including infrastructure needs and healthcare. The complete project investment totaled an estimated $8m.
Arthur Mothershed, Vice President of Business Development for Wind Creek Hospitality (the Poarch Creek’s gaming business) and a Poarch Creek Tribal Council Member, noted, “Our Tribe knows all too well the challenges faced by the Washoe Tribe. Fortunately, in the last ten years, we have been able to overcome many of those obstacles, and we are both honored and excited to have had the opportunity to share our good fortune and knowledge with the Washoe Tribe as their partners on this vitally important project.”
The Wa She Shu Casino is adjacent to the Wa She Shu Travel Plaza which the Tribe opened earlier this year, also in partnership with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The casino offers a “hometown” atmosphere and 360-degree views of the Sierra Mountains. There are designated areas for trucks and RVs within the lighted off-street parking.
It has inhabited an area in western Nevada and eastern California of high mountains and deep valleys which is known as its historic occupation homeland. The pristine Lake Tahoe known as “Da ow aga”, edge of lake, is the heart of the tribe. Located 50 miles to the south of Reno, tribal headquarters are located in Gardnerville, Nevada.