Tribal operators of the Aseneskak Casino, which is located near The Pas, requested to move their gaming venue in the hopes of reviving their struggling business. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister received the request, which was based on competition from the Assiniboia Downs track located nearby. Pallister said that the tribe could not move and now, tribal leaders are saying they will make the move with or without the approval of the Premier.
This past Thursday, a statement was issued by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs which read that in no uncertain terms was it acceptable for the government of Pallister to undermine and unilaterally dismiss the board request by the casino to relocate their venue. Derek Nepinak, the Grand Chief, was upset that Pallister had decided to give his response to the request to the media, stating that the Premier should have been talking to the tribal members and not passing policy via the newspaper.
At the same time as announcing their opinion, information was provided by the tribes to show why the move should take place. Nepinak provided numbers that showed the casinos that are government-run are earning $300m a year while the tribal casinos are struggling. Nepinak stated that the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries is biased against First Nations and the province is in a conflict of interest position.
The operators of the Aseneskak Casino stated that their location currently does not have the population to make the venue viable financially. Reportedly, the property has not been able to see a profit in a ten year time frame, based on information from Suzanne Barbeau-Bracegirdle, the CEO of the gaming venue.