Gaming Expansion and Economic Development ideas discussed

Friday, November 17, 2017 | by Joe Morey |

The LCO Tribal Governing Board has been kicking around a new plan for economic development and gaming expansion on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in recent months.

According to LCO Chairman Louis Taylor, they have been discussing the idea of adding Class B gaming machines in a couple of tribal businesses. Those include The Landing Resort on the Chippewa Flowage and the C-Store in front of the casino.

“We’re thinking about putting these machines where the current Chester Fried Chicken is,” Taylor said. He also said council members are discussing an expansion of Grindstone Creek Casino.

“The small casino made over half-a-million dollars last year. We’ve talked about expanding the gaming area to include the commercial center hall and the café,” Taylor said. “We’d be able to put in more slots and a couple of table games and we’d make the present café a snack bar within the casino.”

Taylor said they believe an expanded Grindstone Creek could make up to a million dollars a year for the tribe.

Taylor said business plans for all these ideas were being developed. He also said a business plan would be developed for the Hideout location, which may also include gaming machines.

LCO Council Member Tweed Shuman said Chief Operating Officer Michael Black of the LCO Casino made a great presentation to the Elders Council last month in regards to the expanded gaming on the Resrvation.

“Black is going to bring us proposals making sure all gaming commission regulations are in place,” Shuman said.

Shuman added that the tribe is pushing to get the C-2 convenience store put into trust.

“One requirement from the BIA was to get rid of the service road currently used by Hayward Propane and we’ve now gotten the approval from the Highway Department. They are going to make a direct driveway to Highway B for them,” Shuman said.

He said one plan they are discussing is to put a larger bank in the location, possibly an expansion of current LCO Federal Credit Union, or a partnership with a larger bank.

“This will benefit tribal members by offering more banking and insurance opportunities like loans to members, direct deposits,” Shuman said. “This would save us a ton of money.”

A question was posed to tribal members on what they would like to in regards to future gaming and economic development ideas on the Reservation.

Dawn Marcel Quaderer said, “I’ll be the first to admit that I'm not too savvy on economic development, but I am fully aware of our health and wellness disparities. We need things for our people to do. Gym with indoor running track, classes, etc. We need more health-related things for them to think about other than drugs and/or alcohol.”

Dan Hart Jr. said, “An idea I've had for years, that is to setup a call center on the Rez for troubleshooting issues in the technology industry. The most important asset to a call center is people. We have lots of our people without jobs that are highly intelligent and very good with technology but no jobs in the area for these types of skills. This would create a lot of jobs for our people and bring some money to the area. We have a college that can be used as a training center for these tech jobs. Typically, these types of jobs are well paying. I know there is a lot of details to work out but it's feasible and a great idea. Instead of sending these jobs overseas why not give them to Americans that speak English. That would be a great incentive for companies to give this hypothetical company a contract. Charter is a big one among many many others.

Keshia Chino said, “I would like to see a laundry mat. Many houses surrounding don't have a washer and dryer and have to go out to town to do it. It would be welcome to many tourists that come in the summer and accommodate our community. If we have it 24 hrs it would be beneficial for casino employees that don't get off until late. Also, an arcade for the kids, or activity area to bring kids that provide a pizzeria kinda like skate city.”

Gordon C. Thayer said, “As Chairman in 2012 I had drawings rendered by Minneapolis Architect Dean Devolis. The drawings included the Hideout and Casino to stimulate ideas for our community and Council to consider for these two sites. The Hideout proposed a plan for a Wellness Center, treatment & senior living, on both sides of the lake. The Casino has a good layout of an expansion plan. Again these plans was to stimulate ideas, sadly the politics of the time from some former leaders squashed any advancement of our tribe.”

Keshia Chino responded, “I would keep it as Capones hideout, restore it put some old slot machines and a classic diner. I would do mystery tours and maybe even provide one of those who dun it dinner dates like once or twice a month. Bed in breakfast would be amazing as well.”

Joanne Graves said, “I like idea of a gambles get away bed and breakfast maybe I'm sure how many rooms there are with a few old time working slot machines.”

Michele Richter Englund said, “For sure there is a need for an intense treatment facility for drug addicts . A safe, culture based, place with transport for kids to go. As for Hideout a small casino getaway type thing. Or a wellness center for cancer & dialysis treatment. kind of like the Hoxie center in Mexico. Natural holistic and modern medicine treatment facility.”

Darren Kagigebi said, “I think the Hideout should be revived as Al Capone’s Hideout Casino and Resort, or some variation of that name. The employees would wear 1920’s attire. The dealers could wear black pin strip slacks and white shirts with black suspenders, the pit boss could wear the jacket. We could put up a hotel and some cabins, and have some sort of water activities. Build it and they will come!”

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