Plans for casino developments by First Nations on both the Alberta and Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster are moving forward.
On August 22, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) voted to pursue a casino on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster. However, announced in July, the Frog Lake First Nation is pursuing a casino development of its own on the Alberta side, with the purchase of a 140-acre site west of the City boundary. In addition to a casino with both VLT and table games, plans for the Lloydminster Regional Entertainment Complex include a full-service hotel and conference center, as well as a fine dining restaurant and a Western Hockey League arena.
Both First Nation’s projects would be situated along Highway 16, however, of the two First Nation projects, the Frog Lake endeavor appears to be a bit more substantial, with the estimated cost of construction at $100 million ($76.8M US). In a press release in July, the Frog Lake First Nation said, “This venture will be a win-win for both First Nation and other regional communities that creates business development, economic diversification, and hundreds of new jobs.” Not as large, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority’s (SIGA) proposal includes a hotel and 31,000 square foot casino with 250 slots and six to eight table games.
Meanwhile, Lloydminster Regional Entertainment Complex’s project manager, Bruce Sims, questions the viability of the SIGA project saying that stand-alone casinos don’t bring in as much business as they once did. Simms said, “Our facility is quite a bit more and really, the crowd that comes in to a WHL game, that stays at our hotel, convention business – they’ll also be drawn to our casino. Our facility, it’s much more than just a casino box,” according to News Talk 650 CKOM.
It was noted by Simms that approval of SIGA’s plans by the FSIN would not affect Frog Lake First Nation’s project. He said, “We are proceeding with our plans. The real question is, if we proceed, what will SIGA do? We have a much more in-depth proposal,” according to the news agency. Simms added that he doubts whether two casinos could be supported by the city.