Go All-in on Fun

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Posted by Theresa Tanner on Aug. 17, 2018, midnight

When people think of casinos, they usually think of gambling. And while that’s certainly a reason many people visit one of the three Spokane-area casinos, there are plenty of other attractions to keep guests busy in between rolls of the dice.

This year has been a particularly noteworthy year for local casinos, with plenty still to come. As you plan a night on the town or want to unwind after a stressful work week, the options for fun and games, literally, continue to grow.  

Coeur d’Alene Casino
Photo courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Casino

Coeur d’Alene Casino celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. From humble beginnings with a bingo hall in 1993, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe-operated casino in Worley, about 30 minutes south of Coeur d’Alene, has grown to include 1,400 gaming machines, video blackjack and off-track betting.

With numerous expansions across two-and-a-half decades, Coeur d’Alene Casino now boasts a 300-room resort, luxury spa, six restaurants and an entertainment venue attracting nationally renowned performers. Upcoming events include Scotty McCreery on Sept. 8, WAR on Sept. 27 and House of Fury Boxing on Oct. 13.

Offsite, Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Coeur d’Alene Casino also host the annual Coeur d’Alene Tribal Encampment and Julyamsh Powwow, the largest powwow in the Northwest, at Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d’Alene. Every July, up to tens of thousands of spectators attend the three-day event to watch dancers and drum groups in full regalia participate in the powwow with opportunities to win their share of over $135,000 in cash prizes.

In 2003, the casino opened Circling Raven Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course adjacent to the property. With terrain of wetlands, woodlands and Palouse grasses over 620 acres, the course has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Top 100 courses in the United States, and a Top Ten course in Idaho.

Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Northern Quest Resort & Casino / Photo by Dan Cooley

Just eight miles west of central Spokane, Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights continues to grow and create more opportunities for fun, some with family appeal.

After opening in December 2000 with 55,540 square-feet of gaming and restaurants, the casino has continually updated the facility, which is owned and operated by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. Previous expansions include an indoor entertainment venue in 2004; a 250-room resort with a restaurant and spa in 2010; an outdoor concert venue in 2011; and the acquisition of the Spokane Country Club (now the Kalispel Golf and Country Club) in 2015.

In 2017, the tribe announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot expansion. Several features of the $20 million project opened earlier this summer.

A luxury grandstand with 1,000 additional seating was added to the existing 4,000 seat amphitheater before the 2018 Pepsi Outdoor Summer Concert series began.

June also saw the opening of Kids Quest and Cyber Quest, owned by Minnesota-based New Horizon Kids Quest, Inc., which leases space at Northern Quest. Kids Quest provides childcare for kids ages six weeks to 12 years ($11-12 per hour per child). Cyber Quest features video games and activities for all ages (children under age 13 must be accompanied by an adult).

All that fun will make for some hungry kids, so the newly expanded food court with Ben & Jerry’s, Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters and Qdoba Mexican Eats will satisfy appetites.

There’s plenty more coming later this year with a retail store, Windfall; outdoor seating at EPIC and Legends of Fire; M&D (Movie & Dinner) theater featuring food and drink service; a remodel of rooms and suites on the hotel’s 10th floor; and a 17-acre RV resort.

Spokane Tribe Casino
Spokane Tribe Casino / Photo by Colin Mulvany (The Spokesman-Review)

Following a 12-year approval and construction process, the newest addition to local casino options is Spokane Tribe Casino, which opened in Airway Heights in January 2018. Upon opening, the casino included 450 slot machines, 12 table games featuring blackjack, roulette and craps, and three options for dining at the 38,000-square-foot facility.

Developers took great care to reflect the history and heritage of the Spokane Tribe throughout casino.

The Three Peaks Kitchen + Bar, a full-service restaurant and bar, takes its name from the three natural landmarks of Spokane Tribe’s ancestral homelands. Whaluks, a traditional card game historically played by the tribe, is the name of the casino floor bar. And the casino deli with sandwiches and coffee, Speelya's Den, is derived from the Salish work for ‘coyote,’ a figure of mischief and fun in tribal culture and stories.

The casino in its current form is only the first phase in a multi-phase project that will develop on the 145-acre site. Future plans include the addition of a hotel resort, retail and commercial space, entertainment venues, a tribal cultural center and a fire and police station, bringing additional jobs to the area that will especially benefit tribal members.