Member Spotlight: Lucky Eagle Casino

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is proudly owned and operated by the Chehalis Tribe. The Chehalis Tribe is a vital community with rich cultural traditions that have endured for centuries. They honor their proud history and advance their vision by expanding business opportunities, educational resources and healthcare and outreach services.

They have been a member of Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce for many years and they support an additional 9 other chambers.

TACC President Gabe Toma had the pleasure to talk with JaNessa Bumgarner, the new CEO of Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel and ask her a few questions.

I understand that you been with the casino for over 18 years, started low and raised up to your new position of CEO. How does that feel and how is that work with the new role and responsibilities you have and your family life?
I started here as a busser, cleaning tables and worked my way up, I got promoted and got different jobs along the way. I ended up in Marketing where I found a great mentor there that really supported me and taught me a lot. After that I went and got my degree in hospitality and gaming, and I came back and wanted to work for my tribe. When the CEO position open, I applied and got it.

Tell me a little bit about your people here, the heart of the business.
We have so many great people that work here and we rely on them so much, especially during our closure for COVID and the reopening. We try to communicate and support them as much as possible because of the scary times. We were very happy when we reopened our doors and since we’re known to celebrate with our people, we are sad we cannot do that but just in smaller ways right now. They are amazing people and I knew that for many years.  

After talking with Rodney Youckton the Chief Community Relations Officer I found out the casino took drastic measures to provide safety and support to your employees and guests as well. How difficult was to change to provide all that safety to everyone in the casino?
It was incredibly difficult to do because every day there were new changes from CDC with the pandemic and we had to keep everything updated. We were very fortunate to work with our Chehalis Tribe Wellness Center and they helped guide us with our emergency management team and our plan. We also worked with other local casinos forming a bond and sharing a great deal of information on procedures to provide safety. Due to this collaboration and collective effort of the tribal leaders and the casinos we were able to reopen our doors safely and doing it for a great cause: helping our people.
Since my wife works for the casino, I hear her and her colleagues say how much they appreciate the high standard of safety that was put in place for employees. Also, the support provided by the casino to all employees during the closure is very much appreciated by your personnel.

What would you like the community to know about the casino?
Even though it’s been a difficult year we are always been committed to supporting our local communities, they have stood by us, they have helped us and we want to remain clear that we can do this and continue to support them.

Any exciting plans for the future?
We hope we can open soon to full capacity, reopen some of our venues, like the buffet restaurant, our event center and bring the live shows back. We’re also hopping to have our 26th anniversary and be able to invite people in the casino for special games and rewards.

One of the biggest questions I have is – How can we the Chamber and our local community support and promote your business?
I guess by sharing our story with visitors and other chambers, of how we continue to support everyone else. We started with just a single bingo hall and now we are this big entity, being one of the largest employers in Thurston County with over 500 employees on our payroll, and we support our team with benefits and recognition for their great effort.

Thank you for the opportunity to find out a little bit more about you and your business, we are here to support and promote our member. We are looking forward to a great relationship with the Casino and Chehalis Tribe.