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April 11, 2021

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ilani looks at sports betting

Supreme Court ruling may present new option for casino near La Center

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

ilani could someday add sports betting to its attractions, its managers said Tuesday in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment said it will consider letting casinogoers wager on sports at its six properties, including ilani, if allowed by state governments.

“We look forward to working with the state governments for each of our properties to offer this form of entertainment in a legalized and regulated fashion,” Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment told The Columbian in a statement. “We have long felt that (we are) in a great position to offer this type of gaming at our properties.”

Mohegan Gaming, a casino operator based in Connecticut, financed and manages the $550 million casino on the Cowlitz Indian Reservation near La Center. The casino opened in April 2017.

Bill Iyall, chairman of the Cowlitz Tribe, echoed Mohegan Gaming’s statement.

“We’re watching and waiting. We’ll work with other tribes, and we’ll have to chart out a path and see where it goes,” he said. “Certainly we’ll be consulting with our management company as well.”

The statement comes a day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal law that banned sanctioned sports betting in most states. Justices in the majority said the 1992 law violated states’ rights and was thus unconstitutional.

Whether Washington will allow sports gambling is another matter. Horse racing is the only sport for which betting is currently allowed in the state, and The Seattle Times reported that a change in that law would require a two-thirds supermajority in the Legislature, or a referendum.

Games offered at tribal casinos are also governed by compacts with state governments. The Cowlitz Tribe’s compact with Washington does allow sports pools.

Mohegan Gaming, the gambling arm of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, also operates casinos in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New Jersey in the United States — and one casino in South Korea.

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