Editor’s note: Oregon’s COVID-19 restrictions have eased, but businesses may ask you to wear a face cover – bring one along and be patient and kind if asked to wear it. It’s also wildfire season – plan ahead and do your part to prevent wildfires.
Top things to know about Oregon casino operations:
- Know before you go — call ahead and/or check websites for safety updates.
- Expect changes in eating, drinking and other resort protocols.
- Wear a tightly woven face covering and maintain 6 feet of social distance from those outside your household.
- Anticipate that enhanced cleaning and disinfecting could slow some casino operations.
- Try your odds at something new, like golfing, bowling, a spa treatment or arcade games.
- Find games galore — from slot machines and table games to the only baccarat table in Oregon.
- Respect the hardworking staff and their Indigenous communities.
- Be kind and show your gratuity with a generous tip.
Oregon’s nine Tribal-owned casino resorts create an opportunity for a full range of gaming and family-fun experiences unlike many other states. New protocols such as enhanced cleaning and reduced capacity mean that favorite tables, lounges and slot machines are available for gaming again — and even a little less crowded than before. Win or lose, spending a few hours or a few days at an Oregon casino is more fun because proceeds directly benefit Indigenous communities.
“Guests have been patient, understanding and compliant with new requirements,” says Mary Liberty-Traughber, a spokesperson for Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton. “Visitors are happy and grateful to have a safe place to go for entertainment during the pandemic.” Here are your top tips for visiting.
Know Before You Go
COVID-19 regulations for Oregon casinos vary. “Wildhorse Resort & Casino is located on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, a sovereign nation. Any restrictions to business operations are determined by leadership of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation,” says Liberty-Traughber. “We often get questions about our operations when the governor changes state restrictions because people [may] forget that the Umatilla Indian Reservation is a sovereign nation that operates under its own government.”
To be the most informed while planning trips to Oregon casinos, use the Risk Level status as a general guide, and read through the COVID-19 updates and Health and Safety Guidelines that are listed on each casino’s website. Liberty-Traughber says guests can find Priority One policies, safety guidelines and requirements, hours of operation, takeout menus, and answers to other questions about the new operations.
Expect Changes in Protocols
While you may have enjoyed free-range roaming 24 hours a day on the casino floor in the past, many casinos have scheduled late-night closure. This allows staff time to clean and gives each space a break from visitor traffic. Restaurants that previously offered late-night fare may only be offering takeout during limited hours. Gaming, lobbies, lodging and other amenities may be operating with different timing and capacities. Check and then double-check through phone calls and websites so you’ll be prepared.
Some amenities and operations may be modified or closed. Ellsworth Lang, general manager of the award-winning Gold property for Choice Hotels, Sleep Inn Hotel (at KLA-MO-YA Casino) in Klamath County, says while the spa and pool are temporarily closed, lodging is open with special protocols in place, including a temperature check upon arrival.
“Our rooms are currently unoccupied for 72 hours [between guests],” Lang says. “All of our rooms are cleaned as well as sanitized with an approved sanitizer by the CDC.” Continental breakfast is also modified as a grab-and-go packaged option in a single-serving wrap. Lang notes that staff continue to uphold their Gold status amid current health and safety protocols.
Coos Bay’s Mill Casino has opted to suspend use of lodging and resort amenities like their pool, hot tub, some restaurants and the fitness center. Seven Feathers encourages guests to stay in their RVs whenever possible while the clubhouse, barbecue pavilion and play areas are temporarily closed.
Wear Your Face Covering
The most important rule for wearing a face covering is to make sure it covers both the mouth and nose. (If you wear a face shield, a cloth or paper face covering must be worn as well.) You may remove the face covering if you’re actively eating or drinking, but not for an extended period. If you forget your face covering, the casino will provide you with a disposable one.
Expect Enhanced Cleaning
Throughout the day, Spirit Mountain uses hospital-grade disinfectant on high-touch surfaces like slot machines, tables, gaming chairs, the hotel lobby and other public spaces. Indian Head uses plexiglass shields, hand sanitizer, enhanced disinfectant cleaners and no-loitering expectations — all of which are explained to visitors upon arrival. “Guests have appreciated the attention to cleanliness in public areas, and are confident in their surroundings as they can see the cleaning process that takes place when they are done bowling, gaming or eating,” Liberty-Traughber says.
Try Your Odds at Something New
Whether you’re planning a getaway for you and your sweetheart, a solo sojourn or a family trip, Oregon’s casinos and resorts have long held many options in terms of activities outside of gaming. Now that capacities are limited at tables, slots and on the casino floor, consider it a chance to invest your time at other property amenities.
Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City offers bingo and golf. Just across the road from Indian Head Casino, visitors can explore The Museum at Warm Springs, with 25,000 square feet of rotating exhibits, standing historical installations, an art gallery and a nature walk around the exterior of the building. Wildhorse Resort & Casino has opened a new Family FunPlex that includes an arcade, a food court, a state-of-the-art bowling alley and a five-screen cineplex.
Find Games Galore
If you’re keen to make a wager, Oregon casinos offer innumerable options. Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde offers keno, slot machines and table games like blackjack, craps, roulette, pai gow, ultimate Texas Hold’em and three-card poker with “Let It Ride” poker. In addition to these games, Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley procures Bet the Set and Royal Match (both played alongside blackjack), four-card poker and the only table of baccarat in Oregon.
At Wildhorse, guests can find blackjack tournaments. At Chinook Winds and The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park in Coos Bay, visitors will find Spanish 21 (blackjack with no 10s in the deck) and sports betting. Oregon’s casinos regularly acquire the newest slot machines, themed with exciting graphics and payouts. Three Rivers Casino Resort, with locations in Florence and Coos Bay, features the latest Mad Mountain and Dice Seeker slots. All the casinos offer a bonus club or players club, a membership that entitles visitors to special offers and sometimes gratis chips. Sign up on the casinos’ websites for coupons and other goodies.
Respect Indigenous Cultures
Oregon’s casino resorts are special places that celebrate thousands of years of Tribal history and cultures. “Tribe respect is the No. 1 thing,” says Lang, who welcomes visitors to the aboriginal homelands of the Klamath. “Respect our cultural areas that are sensitive to overuse. Don’t abuse or disrespect our tributaries and waterways. Don’t tamper with rock-stack features. Don’t forget that the Klamath Tribes have inhabited this area since time immemorial. This means that there are features on our homelands that are protected under the State Historic Preservation Officers. These features mean so much to our preservation of all cultural and natural resources.”
In Eastern Oregon, visitors to Wildhorse should consider visiting Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, located on resort property east of the golf course. It’s an impressive trip through the history of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation as seen from a Tribal point of view, with exhibits that bring to life the traditions of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes, who have called the region home for 10,000 years.
Be Kind and Show Your Gratitude
Amidst the changes, know that staff are doing their absolute best to keep up with fast-changing regulations and expectations dictated by their own individual communities and sovereign nations. If you are caught off guard by an unexpected health or safety request, do your best to accommodate it. Be mindful, be kind and show your gratitude with an extra tip.
Here’s a quick look at Oregon’s casino resort offerings.
Health and safety plan
Casino, hotel, RV park, restaurants, arcade
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
Spirit Mountain Community Fund community contributions
Health and safety plan
Casino, hotel, restaurants, spa, arcade
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians
Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation community contributions
Casino, hotel, RV park
Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Tribes
Health and safety plan
Hotel, RV park, Family FunPlex, cineplex, golf, restaurants,Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Wildhorse Foundation community contributions
Health and safety plan
Casino, hotel, golf, RV park, fitness center, arcade, play place, restaurant
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Chinook Winds Casino Resort community contributions
(Florence and Coos Bay)
Casino, hotel, golf, RV park
The Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians
Three Rivers Foundation contributions