After receiving conditional approval on April 26, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority’s (SIGA) proposal for a new $20 million casino in Lloydminster, has received the green light from the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) to proceed with what will be the province’s ninth casino and the SIGA’s seventh.
In addition to a community consultation plan, the casino, which would straddle the provincial border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, required municipal approval from city officials, and the Gaming Framework Agreement between the government and SIGA needed to be amended. Recently, Don McMorris, Minister of Crown Investments in the Saskatchewan provincial government and responsible for the SLGA, said that the consultations held by SIGA had been reviewed and that it would be allowing the casino proposal to move forward. McMorris said, “There are negotiations that have to happen between SLGA and SIGA for that casino to continue to move forward. But from the consultation and the feedback we had from the Lloydminster council, we’re suggesting that move forward,” as reported by the Regina Leader-Post.
In the latter part of May, SIGA requested a discretionary use of land permit from Lloydminster officials to enable building the facility, which has yet to be named, inside the city limits. If all approvals are received, the SIGA is looking at a 2017 opening date for the 31,000 square foot facility. The venue will offer approximately 250 gaming machines, six to eight table games, a 120-room hotel and restaurant, entertainment area, food and beverage concession, and a gas bar and convenience store, according to the SIGA website’s site plan. It is estimated by SIGA, that as much as 60 percent of the new casino’s customers would come from Alberta, and that it will create 140 jobs and see between 1,200 and 1,500 visitors daily.
The SIGA was created twenty years ago by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) to manage and operate reservation casinos located in the province. Primarily driven by the petroleum industry, the local economy has experienced tough times, something the SIGA concedes to but says that it has had success with casinos started in circumstances less favorable than those in Lloydminster. The largest untapped casino market in Saskatchewan, the SIGA noted that 57,000 people would be within an hour’s drive of the new casino.
The venue is planned to be built on land owned by the Little Pine First Nation and in partnership with area 12 First Nations. The land would be leased to the SIGA and in lieu of property taxes, it would make payment to the surrounding municipality, much like a government office or a Crown corporation.