Washington's Ilani Casino Holds Sports Betting Launch Ceremony At The Stadium Bar & Grill

Washington's Ilani Casino Holds Sports Betting Launch Ceremony At The Stadium Bar & Grill

ilani casino in Southwest Washington held a grand opening ceremony Sunday to welcome sports betting at its newest restaurant, The Stadium Bar & Grill. While the property actually debuted sports wagering last month, the weekend event officially celebrated the new amenity.

Former NFL players made an appearance at the event, which showed off ilani’s hub for sports wagering. The space features a restaurant with elevated stadium fare and an adjoining betting lounge.

During the ceremony, there was a Q&A session with former NFL quarterback and Washington State University alum Drew Bledsoe and NFL Hall of Fame offensive tackle and former career-long Seahawk Walter Jones. Moderated by sportscaster Neil Everett, the football veterans talked about what they have seen this season before the kickoff of the Seahawks’ victory against the Arizona Cardinals.

Leadership of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe was present at the grand opening, including general council chair Patty Kinswa-Gaiser, who noted the revenues from the betting will help fund programs for tribal members and will aid the tribe’s continual community support.

Ilani’s sportsbook has become the first sports betting facility in Clark County. Patrons wanting to make bets can do so at the casino’s Sportsbook Counter, or at ilani’s 24-hour kiosks, which are next to The Stadium Sports Bar & Grill throughout the casino floor.

They can also build their bet online before placing it at one of the sports betting kiosks. Washington law allows for online sports betting but only when bets are placed and accepted at a tribal casino, while the wager-placing customer is physically there. At ilani, people cannot place bets on their mobile phones, only at kiosks.

As reported by The Chronicle, Kara Fox-LaRose, president and general manager of the property, stated that being able to offer sports betting at ilani has been “a long time coming,” and that it was a coordinated effort among the state’s 29 tribes. In 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill allowing for sports betting at tribal casinos and, a year later, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe was one of a number of tribes to receive federal approval.

“I really found it to be a very collaborative experience, focused on being responsible and making sure we’re keeping people safe,” Fox-LaRose said.

She also pointed out the casino’s 68×14 foot video wall is touted as the largest in the region. The wall is integrated with a smartphone application that allows patrons to listen to their game of choice, which plays on the video wall. Those interested in wagering can do so at a spot adjacent to the restaurant, which allows people to bet without taking a seat to dine at the restaurant or at the bar.

Even though the event was specifically NFL-themed, patrons will have the opportunity to bet on a variety of sports. Ilani sportsbook manager Hugh Aufill noted the NCAA basketball season is about to start, and NBA and NHL games are also options.

“Even if you’re not a sports fan, you come to sit here on a Saturday or a Sunday. The vibe just gets so good, and when everybody just jumps up and cheers, it gets crazy,” Aufill said, as reported by the aforementioned source.

The ilani casino first announced a sportsbook agreement with sports betting services provider Kambi Group in September. The deal enables the property, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, to provide a Kambi-powered on-property sportsbook to its patrons in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to its sports betting amenity, the property also includes more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space with nearly 3,000 slots and 75 gaming tables; 18 different restaurants, bars, and retail outlets; and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue.