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The Cowlitz Tribe declares its choice to part ways with the operators of ilani



The Cowlitz Tribe has made the decision to take over the management of ilani Casino Resort after their agreement with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority expires next year.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has decided to assume direct management of ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield starting next year. The tribe’s leadership has voted against renewing the agreement with the Mohegan Tribe from Connecticut, which currently oversees the operations of the resort.

In recent news, the Cowlitz Tribe revealed that it has been exploring its options for when its seven-year contract with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority expires in July 2024.

Subsequently, the Cowlitz Tribal Council has approved a decision to terminate its relationship with Mohegan, paving the way for the casino’s operations to transition from external oversight to a self-managed enterprise.


“The Cowlitz Tribal leadership extends our deepest gratitude to the Mohegan Tribe for their exceptional guidance, partnership, and accomplishments during the formative years of ilani,” said tribal chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser in a statement.

Mohegan has been managing ilani since its inception in April 2017. Although the current agreement is set to expire in July next year, the Cowlitz tribe has chosen to announce its decision ahead of time to provide ample time for the tribe’s gaming authority to undertake a deliberate, professional, and multi-step process, added the chairwoman.

The recent announcement clarified that there will be no immediate changes to the operations at ilani during the interim period.

“We are immensely grateful for the incredible success and the countless benefits that this partnership has brought to our tribal members and the Cowlitz community since ilani’s establishment in 2017,” stated Kinswa-Gaiser.

She further explained that the decision to bring the operation of ilani in-house is a natural evolution for the tribe. “While we remain committed to continuing our partnership with Mohegan through other endeavors and opportunities of mutual benefit, it was mutually understood by both Tribes that the Cowlitz Tribe would eventually pursue a pathway toward self-management of ilani,” added Kinswa-Gaiser.


Mohegan has expressed its support for the decision made by the Cowlitz tribe.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Ray Pineault expressed his pride in the work accomplished in partnership with the Cowlitz Tribe over the years, stating, “We support the self-determination of any Tribal nation, and while we had hoped to continue our partnership as we thought we had more to offer the Cowlitz people, we are committed to aiding a smooth transition.”

Mohegan, headquartered in Connecticut, is involved in various casinos and resorts across the United States, Canada, and South Korea. The tribe also owns the Women’s National Basketball Association team, the Connecticut Sun.

The relationship between the Mohegan and Cowlitz tribes officially began in 2004 when they entered into an agreement for Mohegan to assist in building ilani. Under this partnership, the casino resort has grown to nearly 400,000 square feet.

Notably, the Cowlitz tribe is preparing to host a grand opening event for its nearly 300-room hotel at ilani on Monday, April 24.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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