Puyallup Tribe to Fly Gamblers from Canada to Tacoma Casino Resorts

In 2023, the Puyallup Tribe will begin air services for patrons in Canada. The tribe runs two casinos, including the Emerald Queen in Fife and Tacoma. The Washington Tribe has partnered with Kenmore Air which will facilitate the movement of the tribe’s clients to and from the South Puget Sound.

The seaplane company is based in Washington and operates landplane and charter seaplane routes. Starting the mid-next year, the deal between Puyallup and Kenmore will take effect. The two tribal casinos hope to establish an easier route for their Canadian clients.

The partnership will allow Canadians to board a seaplane at the San Juan Islands or Victoria, British Columbia, and fly to Tacoma. Meanwhile, Puyallup Tribe will utilize the land it bought along the Ruston Way in September last year by building a seaplane port and terminal.

According to the CFO of Puyallup Tribe, Matt Wadhwani, there is no other casino operator that has a similar operation in the Sound. Meanwhile, the new development will not affect the operations at The Ram.

The tribe has assured that the waterfront restaurant will continue running as the terminal construction continues. Puyallup Tribe plans to build another café in the seaport terminal before the first casino flight.

The Deal Is Good for the $400 Million Investment

Puyallup Tribe has two casinos in the Tacoma region. The Fife Emerald Queen Casino was launched in 1996. It has a sportsbook, 2,300 slot machines, 25,000 square feet of space customized for events and meetings, and a 103-room hotel.

Having operated for over two decades, operations at Fife Emerald Queen Casino are perfect. But, the revenue at the newest casino on the tribe’s sovereign land is yet to materialize. The $400 million casino was opened in 2020, at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Emerald Queen Casino Tacoma is the primary reason for the tribe to partner with Kenmore Airlines. Hosting 2,100 slot machines, 60 table games, a 250-seat sports betting site, six bars and restaurants, and a 155-room hotel, it took $400 million to build and launch the casino in Tacoma. The casino also has an indoor venue that can hold 1,800 visitors.

Considering that the casino was launched during the pandemic, having enough clients was difficult. Clients could not travel following the travel ban and other restrictions that the government had put in place to curb the pandemic.

With things returning to normalcy, the Washington tribe feels it is time to give the San Juan Islands and Canadian residents a chance to visit Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma. According to Wadhwani, the new seaplane service will give the casinos the population it needs. The two casinos are a few miles away from each other.

More About the Seaplane Service

While the tribe is yet to close all information about the seaplane provision, it will likely mirror other similar services. For example, the tribe did not disclose how much it would charge for airfare. But, other casinos in the country offer low-priced or free transport, something the Washington tribe might borrow.

For Instant, Wind Creek Bethlehem in Pennsylvania targets North Jersey and New York clients. The casino offers transport using its buses for $50 per round trip. However, once the clients get to the casino, they get $45 to play slots.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.