Posts Tagged ‘ringo’s casino in spokane valey. spokane gambling’

   We are not gamblers and seldom if ever go concerts and so Elaine and I have spent very little time at any of the tribal casinos. But we’ve been watching the billboards around the Valley waiting for one of them to announce an upcoming concert by someone we both really wanted to see. Finally after all these years, the right person showed up and the date worked great. Melissa Etheridge performing the Thursday after Valentines at Northern Quest was the perfect excuse for an overnight stay/ Valentine super date.

   It really was a great getaway. The room we got was $119 a night and it was nicer than the Couer D’Alene Resort where the rooms cost twice as much. The walk-in, glass-walled shower was amazing with the standard shower head accompanied by a row of three more flat-mounted heads spraying luxurious, horizontal fountains on the bather’s body. The top one hit the chest, the next hit the tummy and the bottom one, well the bottom one hit the bottom if you had your back to the wall. If you were facing the wall, let’s just say their plumbing took care of your plumbing. At any rate, it was quite a pleasant shower.

   Before the concert we had dinner at the River’s Edge Buffet. It was my idea and it was not a good one. The food was decent but the setting was on par with a hospital cafeteria and so it did not enhance the romantic aspect of our Valentine extravaganza. Luckily, Melissa Etheridge put the fire and excitement back into our evening. For me, Melissa is the quintessential troubadour rocker. She has been through a lot, she has written a lot of great songs about what she has been through and she just came out and knocked the socks off everybody in the audience. I love it when someone can sound better  performing one of their classics than they did when they first released it 20 years ago. Even though she is a well-known lesbian and cancer survivor, Melissa is about the sexiest thing going when she gets to pounding on her guitar and belting it out on the mike.

  The concert was over by 9 and so we had a lot of night left in front of us and a lot of ways to get into mischief considering we were at a casino. I don’t know if it is because I work hard for my money or because I have no luck at gambling, but for some reason I have never even understood the lure of gambling let alone be tempted by it which is saying something considering I have the will power of a newborn baby. But we did sit at the one-armed bandits long enough to lose $20 apiece, which meant we barely sat down. But boy oh boy, there certainly were a lot of people there who looked as though they were glued to their seats with construction adhesive and had been for hours.

   I suppose the casino was fuller than normal because of the concert, but most of those people on the machines did not look like they had just gone to the concert. They seemed quite serious as they puffed on their cigarettes, drank their drinks and solemnly stared at the spinning screen as they waited for it to jolt to a stop in one of a million combinations that meant absolutely nothing to me. In my short go at it, I could never tell why I won or how much I was winning, but I was pretty sure that all the diehards knew their machines. And there were a lot of machines, I mean thousands and when we called it a night around midnight, I would guess they were at between 70 and 80 percent capacity.

    I am an early riser while Elaine is late loafer, and so I always get up and wander whenever we stay at a hotel so that I don’t disturb my slumbering spouse. The casino was a great place to have a cup of coffee, read the paper and people watch at 6 in the morning. Though the night’s heaving mass of gamblers had evaporated sometime in the wee hours of the night, a new crowd had already started forming even before I wandered along. I ran into an old friend who recently went to work there serving cocktails to the gamblers. She said she loves her shift which goes from 6 to 2 because she’soff by mid afternoon. You would be surprised she said how many drinks she serves for breakfast.

   Another benefit she loves is the fact that all the hundreds of employees get to eat free at a buffet in the employees’ cafeteria . She said it is great food and you can eat all you want. That pretty much blew my mind. You talk about a recession-proof place to work. On the public side, gamblers are stuffing their money in the slot machines as fast as they can while the casino is making so much off them that they can afford to pay for hundreds and hundreds of free meals each day for the help.

   What a world away from Bowdish and Sprague where Ringo’s Casino has sat empty for more than a month. The funny thing is that it seemed to be healthy as far as Valley casinos go. Aces casino left  the Valley about five years ago. Jerry’s Casino came and went in the span of less than a year in the building where Ferraro’s is at now and Players and Spectators recently shut down their casino only to start back up with Ringo’s misplaced crew last month.

   Now the owner of Aces, which has been running up on North Division for years, is getting ready to fire Ringo’s back up. The guy is obviously a serious gambler. I used to think that running a nightclub was about the craziest game in the hospitality business, but now I believe it is trying to make a casino work anywhere other than on tribal trust land. What chance do they have?

   These casinos in town are like the old  Mom and Pop neighborhood grocery stores that used to be around in the old days, whereas places like Northern Quest are the Wal Marts or maybe even shopping malls for that matter. The little old stores were convenient but they didn’t have the gas and so they all went under. It is the same with the in-town casinos versus the tribal casinos. The big ones have all the gas with their slot machines, and 30-foot big screens and entertainers like Melissa. The whole thing kind of chaps my hide a little because of how unfair the competition is, though I do not begrudge the Indians their windfall because they have gotten the short end of the stick for about the last 200 years or so.

   I hope that the new Ringo’s and Players and Spectators do well with their upstart casinos. But I tend to think they ought to let the weak souls of the Valley hop on the shuttles and go out to the hinterlands for their gambling. I know that I can’t do much to help since I don’t gamble and they don’t have any of those heavenly showers.