Tribe breaks ground for Gardnerville casino |

Tribe breaks ground for Gardnerville casino

Washoe Tribe Elder Vernon Wyatt addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking of the Washoe Tribe and Poarch Creek casino in south Gardnerville Thursday.
Brad Coman |

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — In an effort to generate revenue and change the look of Highway 395, the Washoe Tribe is building a place for travelers to stop, and people to gamble.

The tribe broke ground for a new casino on Thursday, which will go right next to their travel plaza at 1001 Highway 395 South.

“On the travel plaza side, we hope it will generate traffic for us and the existing businesses,” said Mahlon Machado, off-reservation Washoe tribal representative. “We hope they see the facilities and they stop.”

The Washoe Tribe is partnering with the Poarch Creek Indians of Alabama, which have experience running similar businesses, in the hopes that it would be a success.

Machado said that they looked at many different tribes and their business models in order to see which tribe would be able to help them maximize their revenue.

“We went through a series of interviews and meetings with other groups,” said Machado.

They started work on the Wa She Shu Travel Plaza earlier this summer, and are looking to be finished by March of 2016.

Since the groundbreaking for the casino was not until Thursday, Machado said they are looking at a around a year before it is completed.

Once the casino is finished, Machado said that they hope to provide around 80 casino jobs and 20 jobs for the travel plaza.

“The casino industry is already existing in the Valley,” said Machado. “The jobs are open to everyone, we want to contribute to the local community as much as possible.”

The main goal of the project is to get people to stop; both travelers and residents of the Valley.

“We hope it’s a catalyst for things to come,” said Arthur Mothershed, who is in charge of Business Development for the Poarch Creek Indians of Alabama. “We hope it will become a more attractive place for people to stop.”

The tribal casino will be the fourth large gaming property in Carson Valley. Property zoned tourist commercial, which permits gaming, is located at two other spots in the Valley. One is at the intersection of Highway 395 and 88 and another is near Sunridge near Highway 395.

Max Baer’s Beverly Hillbillies Casino was proposed for a site along Topsy Lane east of Highway 395. The zoning allowing a casino remains on the property.

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