Cowlitz Tribe to part ways with Ilani casino operator, Mohegan Tribe

April 12, 2023
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The Tribe said the casino will transition to a self-managed location next summer.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has decided to end its business relationship with the Mohegan Tribe, which currently operates Ridgefield’s Ilani casino, according to a local report in The Columbian. The two Tribes have worked together for the past six years.

Chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser said in a statement on the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s website: “After careful consideration, the Cowlitz Tribal Gaming Authority has recommended, and the Cowlitz Tribal Council has approved, a decision to begin a multi-step process of transitioning Ilani from an enterprise managed by the Mohegan Tribe to a self-managed enterprise.”

Kinswa-Gaiser went on to thank the Mohegan Tribe on behalf of the Tribal leadership for years of partnership and guidance.

She noted that the announcement’s timing “provides ample notice for (the Cowlitz Tribe Gaming Authority) to begin a deliberate, professional and multi-step process, evolving ilani from its current fully managed state, to one where it is assisted with management and, ultimately, to independent self-management.”

Kinswa-Gaiser said operations at the casino will not change for the remaining 15 months of the seven-year contract, which ends in June 2024. According to the Chairwoman, the Mohegan Tribe will continue providing management services until next summer.

Kinswa-Gaiser concluded by saying in the statement: “We are forever grateful for the remarkable success and benefits this partnership has brought our tribal members in the Cowlitz community since Ilani opened its doors in 2017.”

Mohegan (formerly known as Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment) develops and operates international integrated entertainment resorts. The Tribal operator is based in Uncasville, Connecticut but has locations throughout the US, Canada and Northern Asia.

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