Wind River Casino revenues exceed expectations

Riverton, Wyoming (AP) 9-07

Gambling officials with the Northern Arapaho Tribe say that revenues from a casino in a converted bingo hall have exceeded their expectations.

They say the Wind River Casino has created hundreds of jobs and is earning revenues not predicted until years from now, at a much larger location.

“I always thought (gaming) would work here, but I didn’t know it would work this well,” said Pat Lawson, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Gaming Agency.

The casino is on the Wind River Indian Reservation along Wyoming 789 south of Riverton.

Casino managers initially expected to bring in $23 million a year before expenses. After more than a year in operation, however, they say the casino is breaking revenue records about every other month.

In July, the casino was able to increase its monthly payment to the tribe by $100,000.

Gambling officials say the casino’s success is partly due to drawing people from long distances. Those visitors include Bob and Louis Wilde, who make a 140-mile trip from Rock Springs about three times in month.

The Wildes say they usually spend the night at a motel and have several meals in the area.

“Last time we were here, there were quite a few people in the casino we knew from Rock Springs,” said Lois Wilde, who is retired.

Retirees Norman and Phyllis Presgrove of Pinedale said they drive 80 miles to the casino about once a week during the summer.

“It’s entertainment,” Phyllis Presgrove said. “We like to gamble.”

The casino also brings in hundreds of area residents with regular promotions. The promotions include Senior Tuesday, when people 55 and over each get a $5 gambling credit and a free meal.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe is getting in on gambling. Last week, the tribe opened the first of two planned casinos.

The Shoshone Rose Casino near Lander has about 100 slot machines.

Information from: Star-Tribune,