The Chinook Winds Casino Sports Wagering Lounge is officially open for business; and the casino expects to see gamblers come from far and wide to get in on the action once word gets out.
On Tuesday, Aug. 27, the Lounge held a soft opening that featured a special guest to place the inaugural bet. Former Super Bowl champion and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones put down $5 on the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl this upcoming season.
Shortly after, the Lounge was open to the public and a few wasted no time dropping some serious cash on various sports teams and games.
One casino goer, Clarence Lindblad from the Rock Creek area in Portland, carries the nickname ‘Mr. Lucky’ and he’s hoping to have some luck at Chinook Winds after putting down $1,000 on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the AFC North this season. As a born and raised Oregonian at 73 years young, he said placing a sports bet in Oregon was something he’s been waiting a long time to do.
“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this,” Lindblad said. “I would’ve never thought they’d legalize marijuana in Oregon before they legalized sports wagering.”
Lindblad said he makes regular trips to Spirit Mountain throughout football season to play their annual football challenge. However, this year he said he’ll be making more trips to Lincoln City.
“I’ll be making the trip down here every week this year,” Lindblad said.
The Sports Wagering Lounge has been over a year in the works according to Will Robertson, director of casino operations. They offer wagering opportunities on almost all sports including the upcoming Olympics.
Although he’s a die hard football fan, Lindblad said he’s looking forward to testing his luck in all the offered sports.
I make bets on most sports, football, golf and baseball to name a few,” Lindblad said. “Pretty much anything; just take a look at the board… there’s a lot on the menu.”
Being the first sports wagering location in Oregon, Robertson believes it will set a trend statewide.
“I would have to imagine that there’s a lot of casinos in Oregon that will be looking to add this and us being open now, we’ll help out if we can,” Robertson said. “They can look at our groundwork and kind of adjust as they see necessary and at the end of the day I anticipate several other tribes to jump on board and have the offering as well.”
Robertson said they have added five new jobs to fill the needs of the Lounge and the staff has been training everyday for the past two weeks to prepare for opening day.
“The hardest part of getting this up and running has been educating ourselves and with any new gaming introduction we’re going to have those hurdles,” Robertson said. “But I can’t say enough about everyone who’s helped get us off the ground.”
The casino is unsure just how big of a draw their Sports Wagering Lounge will have. However, they are predicting that it will bring a lot of positives to the community.
“We don’t have any solid numbers and everybody we've talked to in the industry about it says your guess is as good as ours,” Robertson said. “I can say it is going to help the property in ways such as more food and beverage sales, more table games, more slots, more hotel guest, just more trips and more visitors walking through the door.
“All that leads back to the community, more people coming into the community spending dollars that were getting spent elsewhere.”