After receiving urban reserve status for the area surrounding its Mystery Lake Hotel in the city of Thompson, the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation has revealed that it is still interested in developing a casino for the Canadian province of Manitoba.

According to a report from the Thompson Citizen newspaper, federal officials granted urban reserve status to the 10.4-acre site on April 22 with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation now investigating ways to develop the property in order to increase flexibility and grow revenues.

“It gives us a lot of opportunities for increased revenues, to expand our portfolio and create new opportunities for our people,” Marcel Moody, Chief for the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, told the newspaper.

The Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation is reportedly working with consultants in order to determine the most economically beneficial opportunities for the site, which could include an office complex and a service station. Whatever they decide to do, Moody declared that any new development would be designed to benefit the city as well as its members.

“It’s not all about us,” Moody told the newspaper. “We have a vested interest in maintaining the economic viability of Thompson. The more people we can attract to Thompson, the better it is for both the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and for Thompson.”

Although local restrictions mean that the site cannot be used for a casino, Moody revealed that the tribe is partnering with the Keewatin Tribal Council in order to undertake a joint viability study to determine whether Thompson can profitably support a tribal casino, which would be the seventh in Manitoba.

“There’s a moratorium on building a casino on our property but, working with the city of Thompson, maybe we can still build a casino here in Thompson somewhere,” Moody told the newspaper. “We haven’t made a commitment one way or another.”

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