A $27.4 million casino expansion project is underway for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the sole shareholder of S&K Gaming. Construction for the new venue -- replacing the Gray Wolf Peak Casino in Evaro, Montana -- will begin in 2015, according to the Missoulian.com.
"With this expansion, western Montana will receive better access to high-quality gaming entertainment with payouts that regularly reach higher than $500,000," the tribe said in a press release. KPAX.com reported that it would be the tribes “largest gaming expansion in history.”
The tribe said that the new facility will be 40,000 square feet, have more gaming machines than the current casino, a hotel with 70 rooms, spa amenities, an RV park, a convenience store and an Eagle Bank outlet shopping center. The development will also help create jobs. “This will add more than 140 job opportunities for people, which includes tribal members, people from other tribes or people from any walk of life. They hire anyone and everyone from who's qualified," Communications Director Robert McDonald told NBCMontana.com.
McDonald said the funding comes from a 30-year loan, but told ABCFoxMontana.com he was confident, based on years of study, that revitalizing the casino would be beneficial for the tribe and mentioned that the tribe has a fiscally-responsible government. “Three feasibility studies have supported expansion at Gray Wolf to capture millions in untapped revenue,” said a news release issued by McDonald.
However, some local residents are not sold on the plan.
"I actually have mixed feelings on it," St. Ignatius resident Crystal Weatherwax said to NBC. "If it ain't going to benefit our tribe, I’m not for it at all, because with these casinos, they said it was going to benefit the tribes and I haven't seen any changes."
Gray Wolf is regulated under the Federal Gaming Regulatory Act, which requires gaming proceeds to benefit tribal services such as elder care, education, family support, cultural activities, language preservation, and other essential services.
The tribe also announced a $4.6 million renovation to S&K Gaming’s KwaTaqNuk Resort in Polson, Montana, planned for 2015.