A Native’s Perspective As Seattle’s Safest Tribal Casino Reopens
While nearly every tribe in Washington State has shown total disregard for the official “stay-at-home” guidelines issued by Jay Inslee, one tribe and a team of casino professionals led by CEO Stanford Le is determined to lead its patrons and employees down a safer path. This tribe has agreed to reopen their casino on the state’s suggested date of June 1st, 2020, and the decision was not one that was taken lightly. According to casino employees and the tribal council, adhering to the state guidelines would effectively provide the time required to properly plan and execute the reopening of their casinos in a safer and more functional capacity. The interim CEO Stanford Le committed to a safer approach of resuming business and disclosed plans on how to do so in secret earlier this month.
“We want to safely open as many of the amenities as possible so it’s familiar to our team and casino guests,” said Stanford Le. Shortly after his recommendations were brought forward to the tribal council in early May, other tribes scrambled to open their casinos with negligible safety measures in place. As more complaints from other casinos regarding poor safety measures and operational shortcomings became public, it was evident that he and the tribal council had made the right decision to wait a while longer. “I believe the industry as a whole has done a pretty good job of implementing the minimal safeguards, and for us, we hold ourselves to higher standards,” said Stanford.
After previewing property-wide casino safety improvements on May 22nd, 2020, Troy Wyatt—a lifelong Washingtonian, Snoqualmie community member, and native entrepreneur—contacted Stanford Le's casino Facilities Director, Harold Ellebracht.
“How did you come up with the idea to use plexiglass so resourcefully?” Troy inquired.
“It started with a meeting I had with the design team; I sketched my plans out on a napkin. After building the initial concept, I was willing to tear it all down if the CEO didn’t think the prototype was functional or safe enough for our team and patrons. We even hired Sprague to come in and deep clean every surface with disinfectant as an added precaution, it’s like a total reset,” replied Harold.
The quest to open with increased safety protocols was more pertinent than ever. Whilst tribal casinos to the north, south, east, and west opened with limited seating, no plexiglass, or dysfunctional table games, Stanford Le’s executive team wasn’t willing to send mixed messages or compromise anyone’s safety for profit.
Countless tribal governments await federal aid and are in need of capital to sustain the benefits and salaries being paid to the employees/tribal members who depend on per capita income for their livelihood. Besides the added safety measures, Stanford is implementing a phased reopening, during which VIPs will have more time and space to safely game and enjoy themselves than in any other property. His approach is already making an impact as word of mouth continues to spread. Stanford is also providing extensive PPE training for nearly 1,000 casino employees prior to opening.
Visit the link below for more details about the tribe and additional behind-the-scenes photos from inside the safest casino in Seattle before it reopens.
About Troy Wyatt
Troy Wyatt owns and operates a Native Owned Entertainment Company in Washington State that works with booking agents, other casino talent buyers, and venues to improve entertainment programs for tribal casinos in Indian Country.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please email [Troy Wyatt] at [Troy@seattletalentbuying.com].