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First Nation Chief Complains About Ontario Government Action

On October 23rd, 2007, Chief Ken Skead from the Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation tribe alleged that Ontario Officials are blocking the aboriginal charitable casino facility in Kenora by not giving permission to slot machines and casino card games.

Skead said that the Liberal government has utilized its gambling technique to update and improve all of the other non-profit organizations in the area but has refused to allow the Golden Eagle expand their gaming offerings like slot machines, roulette and card games featured in other gambling facilities.

Skead commented at a news conference in Toronto that the main issue is that the government should be fair and make economic prosperity reachable to all people in Ontario. The Golden Eagle Charitable Casino located in Kenora in northwestern Ontario is only a bingo for the time being because the casino's keno equipment broke down and is too costly to fix at the moment.

The establishment employs around 36 employees but Skead commented that would improve to 160 employees if the Golden Eagle Charitable casino could offer more than bingo. The population of Kenora grows from 15,000 people to about 50,000 people during the summer which Skead commented would be a good source of customers for the casino and bring in profits that would be a great help to the communities.

Gaming rights and profits for the communities of the First Nation have been in question since last summer when the province's condition to share the $2.5 billion in gaming profits over the period of twenty years was rejected by the heads of the First Nation tribe.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton commented that there is no vital reason for the Ontario Government to stop the expansion of the Golden Eagle charity casino. Government officials told Skead back in August that it would not be right to allow Golden Eagle Casino to expand until they receive a good business case from a top class gambling operator.

Hampton said that it places First Nation in a perilous situation because it cannot look for a gambling operator as a business partner until it is allowed to have a specific number of slots in their casino. Hampton added that to pick a company that knows how to manage a casino, the government tells them that they need to have slot machines. But the government said that they need to pick a gambling operator before talking about the slots issue. It looks like the government officials plans to prevent them from ever expanding.


11/06/2007 05:02 PM
Ann Pettersson