The Nooksack tribe has decided to shut down their casino near Deming, effective immediately.
The casino was closed suddenly and permanently on December 10. A sign was posted on the door on December 11, saying management will post updates on their Facebook page detailing how customers can cash out any remaining chips or tickets.
The Nooksack Business Corporation, which owns the casino, has been in default on $15 million in loans taken out to pay for renovations in 2010. The tribe only made payments for a year before going into default. Tribal leaders have been in a prolonged legal battle with loan services firm Outsource Services Management since early 2011. The court proceedings have extensively dragged on due to questions of whether local courts have jurisdiction over tribal cases.
In June, Whatcom County Supreme Court Judge Deborra Garrett ruled that Outsource could collect on the defaulted loans. On December 9, after payments failed to arrive, Outsource’s attorneys issued a writ of garnishment on the casino’s bank accounts.
Though casino management has been discussing the idea of closing the casino since Garrett’s ruling in June, the actual closing came with little warning to employees and customers. As recently as December 10, the company was posting upcoming events on its Facebook page, advertising breakfast buffets and slot competitions on December 17.
Usually, companies are required to file a Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice 60 days prior to termination. Indian tribal governments, however, are not required to file WARN notices. The Nooksack River Casino employed approximately 125 people.
The Nooksack Northwood Casino in Lynden will remain open.