Alberta's first aboriginal-run casino is weeks away from opening as construction on the $178-million River Cree Resort and Casino wraps up more than two months ahead of schedule.
The complex, which opens at the end of October, is located on the Enoch Cree Nation reserve at the southwest edge of Edmonton.
Robert Morin, the president of the Enoch Casino Corp.,hopes as many as 200 Enoch Cree will be hired in the next month. So far, 5,000 people have applied for the resort's 700 to 800 jobs.
"I'd be happy with anywhere from 100 to 200 [Enoch Cree] out of the 800. If there's more than that that would be great," Morin said during Wednesday's media tour of the new facility.
Of the nearly 300 construction workers who were hired for the project, 30 were Enoch band members— an important boost to the community giventhe unemployment rate on the reserve is nearly 65 per cent.
By the time workers finish putting in the gaming room's 600 slot machines and 40 gaming tables, the casino will be a third larger than the city's largest gambling operation, Yellowhead Casino.
The casino has plans to double the number of slot machines if there's enough demand.
According to the Edmonton Journal, the machines will pay out 92.4 per cent of the money they take in under standards mandated by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
That's a better payout than many machines in Las Vegas, but less than the premium machines, which pay out as much as 98 to 99 per cent, said the newspaper.
The complex will house more than just a casino. There will be restaurants and bars, including Tap 25, a sports bar and grill with 25 kinds of draft beer and 20 large-screen TVs.
The complex will have two rinks, including an NHL-sized hockey rink, and a nine-storey, 255-room hotel with swimming pool and fitness centre.
Gambling revenue will be shared amongst the Enoch Cree Nation, the Alberta Lottery Fund, the band's business partner, Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming Inc., and Alberta's other First Nations.