The Gun Lake Casino was opened to overflow crowds recently. It is managed by Station Casinos Inc. of Las Vegas, located between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Mich. The Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians owns the 76, 000-square-foot casino.
In exchange for a fee equal to 30 percent of the casino’s net income, MPM Enterprises LLC, of which Station Casinos is a 50 percent partner, will manage the property for seven years.
Throughout the first three days of operation, officials of the gaming house south of Wayland say that crowds flocked to their building in Bradley, although no figures were announced. For several hours, authorities had to close off the exits for 129th Avenue because of capacity attendance inside of the structure and the filling of 25 hundred parking spaces outside. From backing up on 131, the exits were closed to prevent traffic. The casino is 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. With more than 2, 500 spaces, the parking lot was full.
To tribal gaming authority CEO John Shagonaby, the response to this first casino in Michigan’s «Bible Belt» was not surprising. He admits that the economic benefits trump moral questions on gambling. Since the opening of the gaming house, there has been an increase in the number of bandwagon jumpers, which was quite amusing. Shagonaby added that they have exclusive rights to operating casinos in the region, which includes Grand Rapids and the entire Lakeshore, as part of the Gun Lake Tribe’s gaming pact with the state.
In the Gun Lake Casino, there is so much interest that U. S. 131 exits closest to the gambling was closed Feb. 11, the first full day of operations. Assistant general manager David Frankhouser says that on hourly basis, decisions about whether to allow more people in are being made.