The Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa located in the state of Idaho now offers Canadian gaming machines, making it a dual currency casino. The casino is owned and operated by the Kootenai Tribe who now provide guests the option of gaming in either United States or Canadian currency, depending on the machine. The need to convert to US dollars is no longer needed with the addition of the new machines.
Due to the Canadian dollar being worth less than the American dollar, the visiting population from Canada has dwindled. The casino is located just 27 miles from the border of Canada. When the Canadian dollar was equal or even slightly ahead of the US dollar a few years ago, the majority of the business within the casino was Canadian. Now, according to General Manager of the casino, Tom Turpin, the casino can see the number of Canadian visitors fall below 40%.
The tribe reportedly invested significantly in the makeover of the gaming machines, all in the hopes that Canadians will visit the casino once again. When the casino first began, players from Canada would arrive from Cranbrook or Creston and enjoy the machines, especially not having to worry about the exchange rate.
According to Turpin, in 2007 when the National Indian Gaming Commission created a mandate which tightened the controls of accounting, the tribe began to be affected once the Canadian dollar began to lose strength over the past few years. The casino tried to offer special options to customers of Canada to combat the imbalance in the exchange rate but this has still not helped.
Offering both currencies in the casino requires special software that was created by IGT titled The Advantage System. Selected machines will be marked with Canadian flags and give gamers the option to spend and cash out in Canadian currency.