A lot to celebrate: new Point Casino opens

VIP guests admire the interior of the new Point Casino, Wednesday. The new Point opened to the public Thursday. - Megan Stephenson / Herald
VIP guests admire the interior of the new Point Casino, Wednesday. The new Point opened to the public Thursday.
— image credit: Megan Stephenson / Herald

LITTLE BOSTON — During the second preview night for the new Point Casino, there were still some kinks to be worked out. But worry and stress were not on the menu.

Employees mingled with guests, ensuring slot machines were working and admiring the design of the brand-new building.

The new Point Casino opened to the public Thursday — at 52,000 square feet, it’s more than twice the size of the original casino. It has more than 600 machines, up from 150 when the original casino opened in 2002. The new Point also has an event center, a lounge with music stage, an upscale restaurant and two other  dining venues.

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe opened its new casino with a bang.

Vendors, local businesses and VIPs hobnobbed with Tribal and casino employees Wednesday evening, trying their luck at the card tables and machines and sampling food.

Tribal members enjoyed a preview Tuesday evening. They blessed the new building — a unique dome design. Built by Sprung Instant Structures, the structure has a recyclable aluminum framework, a tensioned architectural overlay of Kevlar and Teflon, and insulation composed of 25 percent recycled post-consumer glass. Fresh air is circulated 11 times an hour, according to operations manager Johnny Winokur.

As the north end’s only entertainment venue, The Point has already lined up national headliners: The Marshall Tucker Band (“Heard It In a Love Song,” “Can’t You See”) performs June 28, 8 p.m. to midnight. Smash Mouth (“Walkin’ on the Sun,” “All Star”) will perform Aug. 9, and .38 Special (“Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ Into the Night”) will be in town Sept. 23.

Marketing director Scott Laursen said country music artist Clint Black (“Killin’ Time,” “A Better Man”) was signed Wednesday to perform at The Point; Black’s website didn’t have the date set yet Thursday.

Laursen said comedy and mixed martial arts will also be on the lineup soon.

“We’re calling ourselves the Peninsula’s new home for entertainment,” Laursen said in an earlier interview. “It’s an all-new animal.”

The old casino, which is closed, will be converted to offices. While Tribal officials aren’t commenting on the expected increased revenue, the additional employees — 126 to more than 200 — are feeling the economic boom, and some officials have said construction of a hotel could be next.

S’Klallam art is prominently displayed throughout the casino, and guests carried brochures — availble at the front desk — identifying the works and the artists. Among the pieces: A display of paddles behind the cashier’s cage, large wooden murals in the fine dining area, baskets and cedar mats, and drums, carves salmon, masks, panels and weavings.

Two of The Point’s venues are named for landmarks: Little Boston Bistro and Point Julia Deli. The Tribe will soon solicit bids for two carved cedar welcome figures to grace the entrance. Extra-large canoe paddles will be mounted on the columns at the covered entrance, or porte-cochere.

Kelly Sullivan Baze, deputy director of Tribal Services, said in an earlier interview, “I think it’s exciting. I think it’s really good to see such a good product and have it represent the Tribe in a good way. It’s a classy place. Tribal members are going to be very proud.”



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