By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Casino Chief Executive Officer Jerry Allen said the former bingo hall to the left of the main entrance has been transformed into an elegant slot room with modern lighting.
The new space features a stone-fired Italian restaurant called Napoli's and an inviting lounge called the Rainforest Bar.
The Jamestown S'Klallam tribe will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Blyn casino at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“More than anything, it's an update to the gaming environment,” Allen said.
“It takes 7 Cedars, frankly, from 1995 to 2012.”
Fifty new employees have been hired to work in the 3,500-square-foot space, which has a state-of-the-art air conditioning system.
The $7.5 million expansion frees up room in the main lobby and existing casino floor to the right of the main entrance.
“We're moving all the machines from the existing lobby,” Allen said.
The tribe added 50 new slots for Saturday's soft opening and plans to add 50 more as business picks up in the spring. Another 100 slots could be added in the future.
The all-slot floor expands the casino's footprint from 550 slots to a potential 750 machines.
“Machine players are the bulk of our business now,” Allen said.
Additionally, three new table games were added to the existing 14-table casino pit near the Totem Grill. 7 Cedars offers blackjack, craps, roulette and other table games.
Allen said the new slot room, including Napoli's restaurant and Rainforest Bar, features the smooth, subtle lighting of a modern Las Vegas casino.
Although the new floor will allow smoking, Allen said the tribe invested in a state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and air conditioning system that will improve the gaming experience for those sensitive to smoke.
“We spent well over $1 million to make the air quality as good possible,” Allen said.
The casino still offers a non-smoking area adjacent to the main lobby.
Napoli's, a 21-and-over establishment, is surrounded by a stone perimeter and what Allen described as “a very inviting environment.”
The restaurant will serve pasta, stone-fired pizzas, bread and other Italian fare. Allen said the food and prices will be comparable to the Olive Garden.
A new south entrance to the slot floor will be “much more convenient” for guests parking in the main lot behind the casino, Allen added.
The back wall of the old bingo hall was extended by 35 feet to make room for the expansion.
Besides the casino, the tribe operates a health clinic in Sequim, the Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course near Sequim, and Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery, Longhouse Market & Deli, a dental clinic and other facilities in Blyn.
The casino face-lift was the first phase in the tribe's $60 million to $75 million plan to build a hotel and resort adjacent to the casino off U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn.
“The tribe and 7 Cedars are very excited about our new expansion that will open up this weekend,” said Ron Allen, chief executive officer of the Jamestown S'Kallam tribe.
“It is just the next step towards achieving our ultimate goal of a full-scale resort.”
Next year, the tribe plans to build the infrastructure for the resort.
A target date for the resort has not been announced.
“After the dust is settled for this expansion, then we'll start focusing in on infrastructure, then a parking garage, then the events center,” said Ron Allen, who is Jerry Allen's brother.
“Once we've got those project done, then we'll be settling in on the resort phase.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.