The Aseneskak is a casino located in The Pas, owned by the Manitoba First Nations. The group announced late last month that plans had been created to move the venue to a larger area in the province, relocating to Winnipeg. However, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has stated the venue cannot move from The Pas to Winnipeg.
A study was conducted by the Progressive Conservative government that showed the casino market in the province is oversupplied, which included Winnipeg. The Gaming Market Study now has Pallister saying no, when asked by reporters if the casino would be setting up in the capital city.
The owners of the casino have the option to move as there is a clause in their licensing agreement stating so. The group actually was able to negotiate a deal to relocate to Assiniboia Downs after reaching an agreement with Peguis First Nation. However, the Manitoba government has the final say in the matter. Pallister has made it clear that the move will not happen on his watch. The Premier has stated that there is already too much gaming and gambling is not what he wants to use to develop the economy.
Pallister stated to reporters that he wants the people to get jobs and have opportunities to grow and learn and work together, helping each other. He feels the gambling industry will not do that. Pallister went on to state that the reasoning behind setting up the casinos on the reserves of the First Nations was to create jobs in those specific communities. He believes that moving casinos away from those communities into Winnipeg is not going to create jobs in The Pas or Flin Flon or Thompson or anywhere else.
The New Democratic Party Opposition has stated that the government is moving too fast and it looks like this is a hasty political decision by Pallister. The group hopes the government has made the decision after consulting with the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and the stakeholders located in Winnipeg. The NDP is the party that gave the license for the casino to operate, and allowed the clause for a move.