Idaho tribes unveil plans for Mountain Home casino

Mountain Home gambling news

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have unveiled their proposed casino project to be developed on land outside Mountain Home, Idaho. The tribes held a two-day-long open house which concluded on Tuesday night, to shed light on the specifics of the project.

The gaming venue will be built on the 157-acre plot of land the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes purchased in January 2020. It will have 2,000 gaming machines in addition to six food and beverage venues, 250 hotel rooms, an outdoor race track, a 15,000 sq. ft. event center, and a concert venue.

According to the tribes, the casino will provide 1,200 new job opportunities as well as a revenue of $187 million for the local economy. The revenue generated by the casino will be used to cater to the Fort Hall Reservation’s “unmet needs”. These needs include maintaining government buildings, roads, housing infrastructure, and emergency services.

The Director of Planning of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Alonzo Coby, revealed that if the casino was built, it would benefit not just the tribes but the entire community in Elmore County.

“We have the Fort Hall Casino, but that has flat-lined with revenue generation. We have infrastructure upgrades [at the reservation] we need done,” he disclosed.

“We just hope and pray it all goes through. It’s not only good for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, but also the community here in Elmore County and the City of Mountain Home.”

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Coby also talked about being transparent with the community concerning the casino project and addressing comments about water, traffic, and transportation issues.

“Getting buy-in on any project is the key from your community. Be transparent to the community. Lots of questions about water issues, transportation issues, and traffic getting into the site,” Coby said.

According to the Sho-Ban Tribes water office, the City of Mountain Home had “existing water rights with available capacity” for the casino. The Tribes also revealed that the Mountain Home Department of Public Works was conscious of the project and intended to connect water and sewer utilities.

In previous years, Mountain Home lost its movie theater in addition to its bowling alley. The casino proposal will address this by having a movie theater, a family video arcade, and a 16-lane bowling alley for players to entertain themselves.

Joshua Malan, a resident of Mountain Home, revealed that having a family entertainment venue of that nature in the area would be beneficial to the community.

“I don’t really mind the development any more than any other [development]. We would love to have more of that kind of [family entertainment] localized here, I think,” he said.

An environmental study will be done in relation to the project and will shed light on the effect of traffic congestion. Coby revealed that the survey would take approximately six months. If the U.S. Department of Interior approves the venue for the proposed gaming operation, the casino’s construction would conclude in 18 to 24 months.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes purchased the 157 acres off exit 95, outside the city, amid rumors of a possible casino. The purchase was made on January 15, making the tribes the first to buy land in Elmore County.

At the time, the tribes did not disclose their intentions for buying the land. They did, however, say the reason for the purchase was because of its proximity to Boise, which has a massive population base, as well as the economic development opportunities it could provide to the tribes.

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