Oneida Nation of the Thames wants to work on a new project involving both gambling and family-friendly offerings but this idea might not see the light of day. This week saw a police raid involving six illegal pot shops associated with the First Nation which discovered a casino resort proposal that has not been publicly announced yet.
The entertainment complex including casino operation triggered a reaction in casino operator Gateway Casinos & Entertainment overseeing casino locations in London and Chatham. This is the region where the First Nation is interested in developing too, but this might be impossible, as the casino operator noted. This is because of the exclusivity the casino leader has over the region.
Rob Mitchell, Spokesperson for Gateway Casinos, recently spoke on the subject and made it clear that another casino venue would not have a place in the local market. The London region, as well as the entire Southwestern Ontario, is an area where the casino operator has exclusive rights to when it comes to gambling. Tribal casino operations would not be possible without the commercial casino operator’s approval.
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A comprehensive community plan and consultations with the community have been completed, as the tribal nation confirmed. Oneida Nation of the Thames aims to become a majority owner of the project that has been in the works for the past 16 months. Michael J. Malik is the consultant the tribal nation is working with. At the moment, Gateway Casinos oversees the slot location Gateway Casinos London at Western Fair District, as well as Cascades Casino Chatham.
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The former is about to see its closure in the upcoming years, as the casino operator is working on its well-rounded casino complex which will go by the name of Starlight Casino London. The CA$75-million project saw the initial steps of its construction at the beginning of this year. However, the pinpointed opening date in the summer months of 2021 might be postponed due to the unprecedented situation that hit pause on the gambling world.
Tribal Casino Resort
All construction projects Gateway Casinos oversees at the moment have been put on hold and their timelines are about to noticeably change. The safe reopening of existing brick-and-mortar facilities is of propriety right now. In this sense, the Oneida Nation of the Thames project would not be possible in this region without the explicitly granted permission of the casino operator.
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It could be recalled that the spring months of 2017 saw Gateway Casinos become the service provider of both North and Southwest Gaming Bundles. This resulted in nine existing properties joining the extensive portfolio of the casino operator. The First Nation proposed project could include a casino venue, hotel towers, an events center, an indoor waterpark, as well as a concert venue.
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Oneida Chief Jessica Hill stated that Gateway Casinos has its own perspective on the subject. The tribal nation is seeking ways in which it could support its people and establish new businesses in the region. Members of the community have already expressed their opposition to the project.