Odawa Casino Mackinaw City opened its doors today after a long struggle and plenty of controversy. The 5,000 square foot casino offers 120 Class II slot machines, rather than the full casino experience the tribe wanted to offer in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Last October Mackinaw City’s village council shot down plans for an expanded casino offering forcing the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians to scale back their plans. No local approval is needed for them to offer electronic bingo in the form of slot machines.
The tribe had planned to break ground in October but had to go back to the drawing board after the village dashed their hopes for a full scale casino on the site of the former Thunder Falls Water Park. After finally breaking ground the $2.5 million venture went from first shovel to open doors in just four months.
The tribe may still hold out hope for a full scale casino resort as the village council said at the time that they could present another plan sometime in the future.
“The property does have plans to expand next year into an addition of an RV park, and if the property is successful, then the next year we will expand this property into a larger property to maybe 400 games with a bar and a grill at that time,” said general manager Eric McLester according to local Fox News 9 & 10.
The tribe plans to continue working with the village in hopes of eventually offering a more robust and full featured facility.