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Lloydminster casino: reigning in the details

edit:casino time:2019-01-10

Lloydminster casino: reigning in the details

Betty Ann Adam, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Updated: November 4, 2017

Architect's drawing of the Golden Horse Casino being built in Lloydminster. Photo courtesy SIGA.com

The seventh First Nation-owned casino in Saskatchewan is under construction in Lloydminster. Here’s a look at it:

LUCKY HORSE SHOES

Lloydminster’s new Golden Horse Casino was named in a traditional ceremony, says Chief Wayne Semaganis of Little Pine Cree Nation. “We went and prayed at a ceremony and asked for an appropriate name,” he said.

“It’s good to name it after one of the animals that has proven of great benefit to First Nations people.”

The arrival of horses on the great plains increased the land that could be used for hunting and was, in a sense, an economic generator, Semaganis said.

“It helped expand how we did business, how we do life. Today, we’re expanding our economy, our way of doing business, our way of taking care of our people… Business development is one of them.

“A casino is the new economy for First Nations people… We’re adapting again. The name fits how we are evolving one more time.”

IN THE SADDLE

The Golden Horse is being built on the Saskatchewan side of the border city, on land owned by Little Pine Cree Nation. Its partners will be First Nations, including Onion Lake, Poundmaker, Lucky Man, Beardy’s, Canoe Lake and Pelican Lake and several others, as yet undetermined, who will invest as part of the Border Tribal Council, which is a legal entity, not a political organization, Semaganis said. The partners will own business entities that are not buffeted by political changes in band leadership, he added.

THE VIEW FROM UP HERE

The foundation has been poured and the builders expect arrival of the steel next week to build the walls and roof of the 25,000 square foot facility. Once that shell is built, the interior can be constructed through the winter. It will encompass a 500-seat entertainment complex with skyboxes that will be available for sale or lease to corporations. It should open in July 2018 if all goes according to plan, Semaganis said.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES

SIGA casinos had revenues of 253.7 million in 2016-2017 with net profits of $81.1 million, according to its annual general report. Half the profits are distributed to Saskatchewan First Nations based on their populations, 25 per cent goes to the province’s general revenue fund and 25 per cent goes to fund local initiatives in communities where casinos are located, through regional community development corporations.

SIGA employs almost 1,900 people, about 66 per cent of whom are First Nations. More than 4.5 million customers visit the casinos annually.

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