In Louisiana, the Jena Band Of Choctaw Indians has reportedly announced that it plans to begin construction of a nearly 80-room hotel next door to its 46,000 sq ft Jena Choctaw Pines Casino after recently securing adequate funding.
According to a report from local television broadcaster KALB-TV, the revelation came as the federally-recognized tribe celebrated the fourth birthday of the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino, which is located on the Jena Band Of Choctaw Reservation some twelve miles north of the city of Alexandria in Grant Parish.
Cheryl Smith, Chief for the Jena Band Of Choctaw Indians, told KALB-TV that the new hotel is expected to open late next year while declaring that profits from the Class II casino had already benefited the tribe in areas such as education and housing and provided an economic boost to Grant Parish and all of central Louisiana.
“We have over 200 acres here and these are just the first tiny steps that we’re taking,” Smith told KALB-TV. “Gaming is the venue now so you need to add extra amenities here.”
One of two tribal casinos in central Louisiana along with the Paragon Casino Resort from the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Of Louisiana in the nearby city of Marksville, the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino offers some 700 slots and a poker room as well as a sports bar and buffet restaurant.
“We’re growing but we’re growing small and wisely,” Smith told The Town Talk newspaper in 2015 at a celebration to mark the second birthday of the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino. “There’s such a thing as getting too big. We never want to over-extend and burden the tribe with debt we can’t pay back. My mentors informed me that the hey-day of gaming is over. We know that gaming is down all over the country. We’re doing well with what we’re doing right now. We want to grow but we want to do it is a smart way.”