Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe Celebrates Cedar Lakes Casino Grand Opening
It was May of 2017 when Leech Lake Band members voted to bring a new casino to the reservation. They broke ground later that Fall. Now less than two years after that ceremony, the Cedar Lakes Casino has officially opened its doors.
“Our gaming team put it together and the council let them take the lead after we said, ‘this is what we want. This is what our expectations were,’ and they made it happen and it came to be what it is today through a lot of teamwork,” says Faron Jackson, Sr., the chairman of the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe.
The project finished ahead of schedule and under budget. It expected to bring more than 100 jobs to Cass Lake. Right now, 75% of the staff is of Native American descent.
“The people of Leech Lake voted in a big turnout because they wanted us to – they’re giving us the okay to build this facility here but they put the trust in us to do it the right way. This is one of the bigger projects Leech Lake has been a part of and I’m proud to say how well we did it,” says LeRoy Staples Fairbanks III, District 3 representative for the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe.
The Cedar Lakes Casino will also make Leech Lake Gaming the largest employer in Cass County. A common theme throughout the speeches during the grand opening celebration was that all band members should be proud of the casino.
“It’s not just about Cass Lake, this is the whole reservation and all the band members, you know. This is something to be proud of. This is one stepping stone for many projects going forward to try to bring the reservation back to where we want it to be,” says Robbie Budreau, executive director of the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe.
“This benefits all of Leech Lake on and off the reservation and I just want to remind everyone that gaming is our main revenue. Gaming revenue helps all our programs on the reservation, helps all of our activities and events we have yearly throughout the reservation and off the reservation,’ says Archie LaRose, the secretary/treasurer for the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe.
In addition to the gaming and the hotel, the casino also has a food court, a restaurant, a bar, and an events hall. There’s even an outdoor stage for concerts. Leech Lake leaders are expecting big things to come.
“Being right off Highway 2 in a much better location than our previous Palace [Casino], we’re just kind of optimistic on how beneficial this can be to Leech Lake,” says Jackson, Sr.
Events are already being planned at Cedar Lakes. This Saturday, the public is invited to the casino to help break the world record for the largest fry bread taco. The event starts at 4 p.m.