CASS LAKE- In a momentous move that promises to shape the future of the Leech Lake Band community, tribal leaders recently announced the expansion of Class II gaming operations beyond tribal-owned establishments. This groundbreaking decision aims to create new economic opportunities for the tribe while forging vital partnerships with non-LLBO owned businesses.
What is Class II Gaming?
Class II gaming, as defined by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), includes bingo and certain non-banking card games. Class II gaming machines, also known as bingo-based gaming machines, simulate bingo games on electronic devices connected to a central server. Players interact by pressing the “spin” or “play” button, and the machine’s screen displays random symbols. The central server draws bingo numbers, which are matched against the player’s selections to determine winning outcomes. Class II gaming machines offer an exciting and unique gaming experience that combines elements of traditional bingo with the aesthetics of slot machines, providing a different type of entertainment for players.
Diversifying the Economic Landscape
The expansion of Class II gaming operations beyond tribal businesses is seen as a strategic move to enhance the band’s economic resilience and self-sufficiency. By venturing into non-LLBO owned businesses, the Leech Lake Band aims to achieve the following key objectives:
- Increased Overall Revenue: The addition of Class II gaming operations in non-tribal establishments is expected to bring in new customers and revenue streams. As the overall gaming market expands, the tribe’s overall gaming revenue will grow, providing more substantial opportunities for all.
- Reinvesting in the Community: Profits generated from Class II gaming will be reinvested into crucial community programs and services, providing better resources and support for the members.
- Creating Jobs: With the roll-out of gaming activities in non-LLBO owned enterprises, the Leech Lake Band expects to see new job opportunities in our community, contributing to reduced unemployment and increased opportunities.
- Fostering Partnerships: Collaboration with non-LLBO owned businesses creates valuable partnerships, fostering mutual growth and prosperity within our region.
Responsible Analysis and Mitigation
Tribal leaders understand the importance of responsible analysis and proactive measures to avoid potential impacts on existing gaming operations. Tribal leadership and staff will closely monitor revenue trends, customer preferences, and market dynamics to adjust strategies as needed. While it is true that the addition of new gaming locations may cause a redistribution of patrons and revenue, it is essential to consider the broader perspective. Also, keep in mind that gaming is already going on at many locations within the Reservation without providing any benefit to Leech Lake.
The Leech Lake Band values the input of its community members throughout this transformative journey. Band leaders encourage open dialogue and active engagement to shape the direction of Class II gaming operations in non-LLBO owned businesses. As part of the community engagement process, band members are invited to attend a public meeting regarding the Class II Gaming rollout to be held at Cedar Lakes Casino Event Center on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 5PM. Band members can also share their thoughts via email to [email protected]
Building a Brighter Future
With the official rollout of Class II gaming operations in non-LLBO owned businesses, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe envisions a future brimming with opportunities and prosperity. The tribe looks forward to uplifting the lives of its members and preserving its cultural heritage for generations to come.
With an initial pilot site now operational in Bena, MN, tribal leaders and key staff from both the tribal government and gaming are meeting regularly to formalize the application and licensing structures that will allow further expansion of Class II Gaming operations. More information on these efforts will be shared with band members in the coming weeks.