River Cree Resort & Casino (Enoch, Alberta)
When the $178-million River Cree Resort and Casino opened on the Enoch Cree reserve just three kilometers west of Edmonton in October, 2006, it became the first aboriginal-owned casino in the Province of Alberta. The facility was built as a “destination” casino and houses restaurants and bars, two ice hockey rinks, and a nine-storey, 255-room hotel with a swimming pool and fitness centre.
It is estimated that the casino will provide approximately $25 million a year for Enoch community initiatives. Me'Chet Charities Limited holds the casino charity license for the Enoch Cree Nation under the First Nations Gaming Policy. Me'Chet is the fulltime umbrella charity organization for the River Cree Casino, and ensures that the appropriate charity license is in order, and that charitable events within our casino are operated in accordance with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission's AGLC Regulations.
The Enoch Cree were one of the first to submit an application for a casino after the Alberta government announced in 2002 that it was prepared to accept proposals from provincial First Nations. In April, 2004, the AGLC approved the band’s application to construct an on-reserve casino. After wrangling with the City of Edmonton concerning access to municipal utilities and services, the Enoch Cree offered to pay the city $1.4-million for water, sewer and firefighting services for its proposed casino. The River Cree Resort and Casino finally opened in October, 2006 on the Enoch reserve lands just west of the City of Edmonton.
OWNERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
The Enoch Cree Nation entered into a partnership with Paragon Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas, Nevada to develop The River Cree Resort and Casino. In January, 2014 the casino became fully owned by the Enoch Cree Nation and River Cree Enterprises LP. The First Nation and its business entity acquired sole ownership after completing a deal to purchase the minority interest held by Las Vegas-based casino operator, Paragon Gaming.
The current Enoch population includes 1,776 members, with approximately 1,400 living on reserve and the remaining members living off, primarily in Edmonton.
In its first year of operation, River Cree generated an estimated $18-million through its charity. It originally opened in 2006 with 606 slot machines. An additional 83 machines were added in 2007.
On October 26, 2006, the River Cree Resort and Casino opened on the Enoch reserve just west of the City of Edmonton. In November, 2006, the Century Casino and Hotel opened in northeast Edmonton.
The River Cree Resort and Casino operates in competition with five existing traditional Edmonton casinos and one Edmonton racino. A seventh competitor is located in St. Albert, a city adjacent to Edmonton. The nearest casino to River Cree is the Palace Casino in West Edmonton Mall.
River Cree enjoys an advantage over other Edmonton-area casinos as reserve land is not subject to restrictions on smoking. The casino has designated 30 per cent of its gaming floor where smoking is permitted.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
River Cree Resort and Casino web site
Messenger, S. (2008, January 1). That's entertainment. Alberta Venture.
Gala launch of River Cree casino a bubbly affair. Edmonton Journal, Oct. 27, 2006. p. B3.
Belanger, Y. D. (2006). Gambling with the future: The evolution of aboriginal gaming in Canada. Saskatoon, SK: Purich.
Enoch First Nation now casino's sole owner; Vegas company's minority stake bought out after just seven years (Mah, Bill. Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 17 Jan 2014: D.1.)
Last Updated: 10/19/15