The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs continues to work on securing financial backing for the already delayed Spirit Sands Casino project.
The casino was originally scheduled to open its doors to customers this year, however construction has not yet begun on the multimillion-dollar project.
“We are working with potential financiers for the project, and those are very near completion,” said Bartley Harris, director of business economic development with AMC.
As for a timeline on when shovels would be hitting the ground, Harris couldn’t say.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to give an estimate at this time,” Harris said.
Last month, the Government of Manitoba increased the loan guarantee for the project by $250,000 to a total of up to $1 million, to help the AMC complete its efforts to secure financing for the casino.
A provincial spokesperson said they are “working diligently with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to develop the Spirit Sands Casino at Swan Lake First Nation as a tool of economic development and tourism opportunities.”
Cliff Graydon, Manitoba Progressive Conservative lotteries and gaming critic, said the project has been faced with a “severe inability to secure the necessary financing.”
“I’m quite surprised frankly, that the government with a billion-dollar deficit and rising, and many flood victims still out of their homes … and many unpaid claims, that they would embark on an ambitious project such as this,” Graydon said.
Back in 2010, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises signed a contract to finance the casino and manage its day-to-day operations.
Red Lake Gaming Enterprises — also known as Seven Clans Casinos — is a Minnesota-based tribal casino operating company that is owned and operated by Red Lake Nation.
Officials with Red Lake Gaming Enterprises could not be reached for comment.
The Spirit Sands Casino and Resort development plans, as of last year, included a gaming floor with roughly 500 machines, table games, a 100-room hotel, two restaurants and a convention/ entertainment facility. It will be located on Swan Lake First Nation next to Highway 5, about 16 kilometres south of the Trans-Canada Highway, near the communities of Carberry and Glenboro, adjacent to Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
It’s been estimated that the project would cost $40 million, and take a year to build.
Cash generated by the Spirit Sands Casino, which will be the third First Nation-run casino in Manitoba when it’s completed, is to be divided among the province’s 64 aboriginal bands.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 7, 2012