February 24, 2009
PALA INDIAN RESERVATION - The Pala Casino Spa and Resort will soon open its first poker room, two new restaurants, an expanded buffet, and a new 400-car parking garage.
The expansion is expected to open in May and will add 60,000 square feet, or about 25% of the existing 230,000 square feet.
The estimated the cost of the expansion is about $100 million. "We're facing the same challenges as everyone else," said casino chief executive Bill Bembenek in a reference to the economy. "The tribe understands that you have to invest in your business."
Bembenek also said the poker room will host 15 tables. There will also be a larger high-limits room with its own kitchen and lounge.
The expansion also includes and agreement by the Palas to pay $38 million to the county for improvements to Highway 76. The highway improvement includes the winding, five-mile stretch between the casino to Interstate 15.
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