In Iowa, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska recently held a special champagne celebration to mark the 25th birthday of its WinnaVegas Casino Resort while reportedly declaring that the Woodbury County facility will soon reveal some “major announcements for future development”.
According to a report from the Sioux City Journal newspaper, the WinnaVegas Casino Resort opened for business from a trio of prefabricated units and a pair of mobile trailers in April of 1992 but has since spent nearly $60 million on additions and renovations to today offer a 54,353 sq ft casino complete with 850 slots as well as ten gaming tables, a bingo hall and a poker room.
“We’ve accomplished a lot in 25 years and we’ve actually accomplished a lot in five years,” Frank White, Chairman for the Winnebago Tribe Of Nebraska, told the Sioux City Journal. “This is only an example of what this nation can do, the Winnebago Tribe [Of Nebraska] and the Ho-Chunk people, and it’s only going to get better.”
The newspaper reported that the WinnaVegas Casino Resort, which was first proposed by the tribe’s Vincent Bass in 1990, additionally offers a hotel, conference center, restaurants and a 1,500-seat entertainments venue and intends to feature multiple concerts over the next few months alongside mixed-martial-arts fights and live CBS boxing contests.
“We didn’t know anything about gaming [in 1990] so we had to go find out about gaming because we wanted to do it,” Bass, who now serves as Vice-Chairman for the Winnebago Tribe Of Nebraska, told the Sioux City Journal about his efforts to open a first casino for the federally-recognized tribe. “There were Indian casinos in existence in Minnesota and Wisconsin so we traveled over.”
Bass, who had just been elected to his first tribal council term before proposing the casino, explained that these had included the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel just south of Minneapolis. Operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, this is the largest facility of its kind in Minnesota and has eleven bars and restaurants alongside a 600-room hotel, conference center, entertainments venue, adjacent golf course and more than 150,000 sq ft of gaming space.
Following 18 months of work, the Winnebago Tribe Of Nebraska subsequently opened the WinnaVegas Casino Resort, which the newspaper reported has since helped to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs while generating money for the Ho-Chunk Incorporated economic development enterprise.
“I’ve never heard of a casino getting approval from beginning to opening in 18 months; it just doesn’t happen,” Bass told the Sioux City Journal. “Some tribes have been waiting 20 years now to get gaming and they still don’t have it but we’ve been very fortunate and very aggressive in our pursuit of gaming.”
Despite the subsequent openings casinos in the nearby cities of Council Bluffs and Sioux City, Bass reportedly proclaimed that many gamblers still prefer to travel further in order to enjoy the WinnaVegas Casino Resort.
“They got a casino right in downtown Sioux City but many people still prefer to come here,” Bass told the Sioux City Journal. “I think we’re doing as good as we can possibly do. There’s always room for improvement but I think we’re doing pretty good. We all dreamt for and had visions of a casino that’s something like this. I’m very pleased. We’re very proud of it [and] we try to keep it clean [and] we try to be good to our customers. We try to give back [and] we just do it right. You treat people right and they’ll treat you right, right back, and that’s the way it should be.”