Woodland casino set to open

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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The Oak Tree Restaurant in Woodland will open its first cardroom to the public Saturday morning, restaurant officials said.

The casino, which is located off Interstate 5’s Exit 21, is expected to bring $800 per day, or $292,000 per year, in added tax revenue to Woodland, said Dave Paasch, CEO of Oak Tree Enterprises. Casino officials hope to add a second cardroom in the spring behind the Oak Tree Restaurant on the old Parr Lumber site.

With the Oak Tree Casino’s opening, Woodland will join La Center, which has four cardrooms, as the only city in the area with gambling-related businesses. The Oak Tree Casino’s doors officially open at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Proponents of cardrooms point to how the money could help cash-strapped Woodland in this recession. Opponents say gambling in the community could harm already poor families.

The Woodland casino will offer games such as Texas Hold ‘Em, Pai Gow, Easy Bacc (baccarat) and Ultimate Hold ‘Em.

The building’s remodeled bar, “The River Lounge,” is now open and will soon offer live music five nights per week. In the gaming area, “The Jade Garden” restaurant will soon serve Chinese- and Vietnamese-inspired food, casino officials said.