FIFE, Wash. -- It’s 2:30 on a blustery midwinter Tuesday afternoon at the Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel in Fife. The casino’s parking lot is nearly fender-to-fender full of cars, and two floors of the parking garage are jammed.
Inside the casino, converted from a modest Best Western hotel, the chairs and stools are well populated with customers – many of them retired – feeding their $10 and $20 bills into the slots.
Welcome to one of the most profitable gambling operations in America, at least according to its owners, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The tribe’s gambling operations will create enough profits to provide the tribe with more than $105 million in total cash payments this year plus enough extra funds to help fund the tribe’s extensive social welfare, health and education programs.
The tribal casino in Fife, bookended by strip malls and RV sales lots, and its companion casino less than two miles away, the Emerald Queen Casino I-5, are prodigious profit-makers even during the deepest economic decline since the Great Depression, said Frank Wright, Emerald Queen’s general manager.
The Puyallup tribe’s continued profitability comes at a time when nontribal gambling operations nationwide are reporting tough sledding. Even some of the nation’s highest-profile Indian gambling operations reportedly are struggling to pay their debts.
To read the complete article, visit TheNewsTribune.com