TACOMA, Wash. -- You can’t drive on I-5 in Tacoma and not spot it: a giant new landmark that will house one of the biggest casinos in the state.
The Puyallup Tribe’s new Emerald Queen Casino is already being called the Las Vegas of the Puget Sound, and it hasn't even opened yet.
The tribe says it’s also a jackpot for the community, with hundreds of jobs created and millions pouring into the local economy.
EQC General Manager Frank Wright helped the tribe usher in gaming back in the 90s with the Emerald Queen Riverboat, but always with an eye on getting bigger and better.
“This is where I dreamed it would be one day,” said Wright as he watched workers put the finishing touches on the new casino. “The tribe would make the investment and flourish.”
The new casino is a 310,000-square-foot tourist attraction. Everything is new, from the games to the lights to a 2,000-seat concert venue and event center. Wright says the bragging rights even extend to the casino’s new restrooms.
“You walk into a restroom and there’s probably more stalls then you’ll find at any casino in the country, because we want to make sure we’re taking care of every detail," he said.
That detail includes showcasing the tribe’s culture and art throughout the enormous venue.
The tribe took its time to get to a new casino, spurning outside financing. Wright says that means profits go back into the local economy, while adding 200 new jobs.
The man who made his start on a river boat says he can’t wait to welcome the public to his slice of Nevada in the Northwest. It's slated to open sometime in December.
“You’re in Tacoma, Washington, and you roll into here. This is Vegas man.”