Manitoba Chiefs Discuss Gaming Options in Winnipeg

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs held a two-and-a-half closed-door meeting with First Nations across Manitoba this week in order to discuss gaming options in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Casino Relocation

One of the biggest talking points was the firm stance on new casino addition to Winnipeg from the Pallister government. Government’s opposition to a new casino in the province has forced Manitoba First Nations to seek alternate legal solutions to solve the situation.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak claims the stakes are brought up as Chiefs begin to look at legal options that help First Nations avoid being pushed aside.

“Winnipeg is the gaming market in Manitoba and for us to be kept out of the prime gaming market is unjust. It’s in bad faith and we aren’t going to stand for that”, Nepinak said.

Nepinak refused to comment on how the legal actions might shape up, but adds they are ‘well-positioned to advance the discussion regarding to adding a new casino to Winnipeg’.

The idea regarding a new casino re-emerged from a memorandum of understanding resigned last week by representatives of Peguis First Nation and Aseneskak Company Inc – the First Nations-controlled company which runs the Aseneskak Casino near the Pas.

Pallister’s Oposition

Aseneksas Company first thought about relocating its decaying casino to Winnipeg last year, but Premier Brian Pallister made sure his voice was heard loud and clear.

“Absolutely no”, he said back in September.

Pallister based his opinion on the notion that the province boasted an oversupplied casino market, supporting his claims with a 2016 Gaming Market Study. Pallister’s government appears not to have changed its stance on the matter with Justice Minister Heather Stefanson explaining that any proposal for an increase in gaming – Winnipeg relocation included – would need to be supported by a market analysis and viable business plan.

Justice Minister also added that no formal offer for a casino or expansion has been received.