The Canadian province of Saskatchewan could soon have its ninth casino, after the Saskatchewan Liquor And Gaming Authority granted conditional approval for a new $20 million venue for the city of Lloydminster.
Due to be operated by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) organization of the Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), the new casino would straddle the provincial border with Alberta and offer four to five gaming tables alongside approximately 250 gaming machines.
The planned development would additionally feature a 250-room hotel alongside a 1,500-seat convention center but construction will not begin until a local community consultation process has been formulated and completed.
Don McMorris, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor And Gaming Authority, declared that it will be up to the community and SIGA to determine the exact type of consultation, which may include a plebiscite.
“Once that’s complete, they’ll put a formal request into the Saskatchewan Liquor And Gaming Authority that will then ask for the construction of a casino in that area,” McMorris told the CBC. “That’s really the community’s responsibility. We’re saying that we’re kind of conditionally in agreement with it but it really does need to be a local decision that is made.”
SIGA, which has more than 1,800 employees, with 65% being First Nations people, currently operates six casinos in Saskatchewan with venues in Prince Albert, North Battleford, Yorkton, Swift Current, Dakota Dunes and on the White Bear First Nation reserve near Carlyle. The provincial government runs sites in Regina and Moose Jaw.
Bobby Cameron, Chief for the FSIN, stated that Lloydminster, which has a population of some 27,800, would make an attractive home for a casino due to the large number of travelers that regularly pass through the city along with the economic spin-offs associated with the recent Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games.
“Every hotel, every restaurant, every clothing outlet made a substantial amount of revenue in that one week,” Cameron told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix newspaper. “It’s not just the casino that’s going to benefit. It’s all these other small businesses that are going to benefit as well.”
If built, McMorris stated that 50% of the new casino’s revenues would go to Canada’s First Nations Trust while the remaining amount would be equally split between the government’s general fund and local community initiatives.