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ROCHESTER, WA-The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation is developing a $7-million hotel next to the Lucky Eagle Casino as part of its plan to become more than a day-trip destination. In 2002, the Lucky Eagle completed a $6-million project that included a remodeling of existing facilities, the addition of more restaurant space and a 1,200-seat event center that has attracted Glen Campbell, Roy Clark and Debbie Reynolds, as well as singer Tony Curtis, who has become the Lucky Eagle’s spokesman for marketing campaigns.The additions boosted the casino’s bus program, which provides free daily shuttles or charters from cities up and down the Interstate 5 corridor. “We’re up to 130 buses a month,” says Lucky Eagle manager John Setterstrom. “The success of those one-day trips has led to greater and greater demand for overnight opportunities. The hotel will allow us to do that; it allows us to go after a whole new market.”Lucky Eagle opened in June 1995 and is the oldest of the three South Sound tribal casinos. The 70-room hotel, being built on what is now a satellite parking lot, is scheduled for completion in March. The hotel will feature a heated indoor pool, a sauna and exercise facilities, and will be linked to the casino by an overhead walkway.Setterstrom says the plan was on hold for some time while the tribe acquired land adjacent to Interstate 5 and did their due diligence for a possible hotel and casino development on that property. “But that has turned out to be a long and arduous process and the market dictated that we move forward with the hotel,” says Setterstrom.The Lucky Eagle isn’t the only casino being expanded in the state. The Nisqually tribe’s Red Wind casino in Olympia is expanding to 85,000 sf, a $31-million project that includes a 928-stall parking garage. Additionally, the Squaxin Island tribe opened a 92-room hotel at Little Creek Casino near Shelton in December and the Puyallup tribe bought the 138-room Best Western Fife Hotel in June with plans to replace its neighboring riverboat casino by the end of October.Tribal casinos have been on the upswing in Washington since 1999, when they were allowed to add slot-style machines to their table game offerings. Other tribal casinos with hotels in the state are the Skagit Valley Casino near Mount Vernon and the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores.

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