The Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan has been attracting visitors from Allegan County and beyond for the last five years. Home to over 1,600 slot machines, 33 table games, 5 restaurants and daily live entertainment performances at Stage 131, the tribal owned casino has become quite the attraction for locals and tourists alike.
According to management, the popular Michigan casino has a lot more potential to harness. That’s why they’re preparing to invest $76 million into a vast expansion of the tribal-owned gambling facility that will see it nearly double in size, bringing in more slot machines, more family-oriented entertainment options, and most importantly, more jobs for the community.
Records indicate that Gun Lake Casino already provides employment opportunities to more than 800 people. According to casino management, that number will swell significantly, not just after the expansion is complete, but during the estimated year-long construction phase as well.
Aside from the temporary employment opportunities for local construction crews, Gun Lake Casino estimates that more than 100 new jobs will be available in the fields of gaming, culinary arts and management positions.
Ed Pigeon, Acting Chairman for the Gun Lake Tribe, told members of the press what led to the decision to invest $76 million back into the property. “We looked at how well it’s been doing over the past 5 years,” said Pigeon, ultimately deciding “it was time to grow.”
However, he said a great deal of time and thought went into the adjudication. “One of the things we’ve learned as a tribe is patience,” Pigeon explained. “We really look at every decision before we go forward with it, analyze it carefully and make sure it’s the right one.”
The Tribal Chairman is, of course, looking out for his own interests, too. Pigeon hopes that the elaborate investment will pay off for members of the Gun Lake Tribe community as well. “The revenue generated here is stuff we use for elders, housing, preserving our language and culture… everything,” he said.
Although he admits the historically enjoyable ringing of slot machines will be intermixed with the less affable sounds of construction, he knows it will all be worth it in the end.
Pigeon said that, once the expansion is completed, guests will have a lot more space, more slot machines and table games to play, more dining options to choose from, and a much stronger emphasis on family-oriented entertainment. Stage 131 will be receiving a major upgrade to considerably increase its size, giving management the ability to book much larger acts.
Brent Arena, Vice President and General Manager of the Michigan casino, said they’ve already begun looking into a wider range of premier talent to take the stage. “It’s something we’re beginning to discuss, looking to see who will come into the property,” he said.
Other upcoming additions to Gun Lake Casino include a new 300-seat buffet, a high-stakes gaming room and an expansion of the staff’s dining and lounge area. Based on the Michigan casino’s current schedule, expansion of the gambling facility should be completed sometime in the summer of 2017.