BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – A new $300 million Las Vegas style casino has incorporated the four elements – fire, air, earth, water – showcasing the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians’ heritage while creating an innovative modern design. The FireKeepers Casino opened to the public Aug. 5 after more than 10 years of planning, vision and determination.
Located minutes east of Battle Creek, Mich. along Interstate 94, the 236,000-square-foot property – featuring a 107,000-square-foot gaming floor – has created more than 1,500 full and part-time jobs for tribal members and the community.
Nick Tenbrink is a tribal member who recently relocated his wife and young children to Battle Creek after working construction on the casino. His wife, Jennifer, now works at the casino as an income auditor and Nick was recently hired as a slot technician.
FireKeepers Casino offers 2,680 slot machines, 78 table games and a live poker and bingo room along with other amenities for its guests including a VIP lounge, sports bar, signature restaurants, and more.
“Before I became a construction worker, I made cam shafts in a really dusty factory. Every day I went home black from grease and smoke. After about a year of coughing up all the dust I was inhaling, I was ready to do something healthier. When the groundbreaking for the new casino took place I did everything I could to get down here and be a part of it.”
Tribal chairman Laura Spurr is happy to see young tribal members and their families moving home to work at the casino. During the construction phase, about $100 million was infused into Michigan’s economy to pay local vendors and about 700 construction workers, most of whom lived within a 60 mile radius of the casino.
“We want to make sure that our tribal members are going to have access to jobs and are really pushing to ensure that our management company uses local vendors for everything.” The casino is expected to generate about $100 million a year, with about $10 million in revenue sharing being returned to local communities.
The casino offers 2,680 slot machines, 78 table games and a live Poker and Bingo room. FireKeepers also offers five dining destinations, multiple lounges and entertainment venues that add drama and style to the casino using creative lighting. From a translucent honeycomb pattern spanning the height of the casino, to amber panel lights creating a natural glow, lighting plays a major role in the casino’s design.
The centerpiece of the property is the Kabaret – a stunning design evocative of heat and flame. With a 300-person dance floor, the Kabaret will be showcasing popular bands, comedians and DJs. Providing a variety of options to meet patron’s needs, the Aurora VIP Lounge offers private access to the FireKeepers’ high-limit slot and table areas as well as an intimate, exclusive escape from the casino floor.
If watching sports on 14 large screen TVs and having a selection of local microbrews is what you are looking for, then Dacey’s Sports Bar is the place to be. If patrons are looking for something on the light side, Amazen Blazen Grab-n-Go offers espresso and coffee as well as breakfast bagels, wraps, salads and calzones.
Firekeepers’ signature restaurant, Nibi, offers a contemporary take on classic upscale dining. The 70-seat room features a bar and lounge and offers a wide selection of appetizers, seafood specialities, steak selections, entrees and desserts.
“This has been a really significant event for us and all the hurdles we have had to go through to get to this point have really been worth it. We now have employment for our members and we are going to be able to provide education to our youth and health care for our elders. We are glad that people recognize that this is why it is so important for tribes to have this type of development,” said RoAnn Beebe-Mohr, tribal council secretary.
The casino sits on 78 acres of former cornfields, 34 of which were used for casino development. FireKeepers features a 2,080 space covered parking garage giving guests easy access.
FireKeepers is managed by Gaming Entertainment (Michigan), LLC, a joint venture between Full House Resorts, Inc., which develops, manages and invests in gaming-related opportunities and RAM Entertainment Inc., a privately owned investment company.
A grand opening for FireKeepers Casino is planned for the end of September.