Manitoba First Nations may open a casino in Winnipeg

December 14, 2023
By
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There had been opposition to the idea under previous governments.

Winnipeg may well have a First Nations casino at some point in the near future after Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said he is open to considering a First Nations-run casino. 

For a while now there has been opposition to the idea of such a thing happening, with previous governments not showing support for it. 

More than a decade ago, First Nations were stopped from setting up a casino in Winnipeg after the NDP government at the time said the market was already full with two government-run casinos in the city. 

In 2013, Shark Club, a gambling center operated by True North Sports and Entertainment, was allowed to open in downtown Winnipeg, which the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs later filed a lawsuit over. 

During 2018, a pause was implemented on any new gambling facilities by the Progressive Conservative Government, which Kinew’s NDP government lifted earlier this week. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs welcomed the change. 

According to 500 Nations, there are currently 17 First Nation casinos, with five in Alberta, one in British Columbia, two in Manitoba, three in Ontario and six in Saskatchewan. 

Kinew said: "We don't have a specific proposal in front of us, but what we're saying is that we're open to working together on economic reconciliation. 

"And if that includes a future proposal from the Naawi-Oodena site (in Winnipeg), or other urban Indigenous economic development zones around the province, we'll certainly consider it." 

In related news, Winnipeg’s current casino workers, from its three casinos, voted in favor of a strike right before Christmas, if a new deal over the terms of a contract cannot be agreed by 12:01am on December 23. 

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