Press-Republican

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April 14, 2013

Akwesasne casino and bingo sites merge

(Continued)

AKWESASNE —

“It’s very gratifying that our own people are working at our own casino instead of having to go somewhere else to find work,” she said.

The Bingo Palace was established in 1985, and it took 14 years of steady progress and building a loyal following of guests that led to establishment of the casino in 1999.

The Poker Room opened in 2001 and quickly became a favorite, along with the gaming tables for roulette, blackjack and craps.

The merger of the casino and bingo sites was first discussed in 2004, shortly after the state and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council signed a compact that allowed slot machines to be added at the casino.

In exchange, the state would receive an increasing-size share of slot-machine profits and include a percentage for St. Lawrence and Franklin counties and the towns of Massena, Brasher, Fort Covington and Bombay.

The casino’s first 1,000 slot machines arrived in April 2005, which meant renovation of the gaming floor, which was raised to accept the added weight. Construction continued with no interruption to gaming activities.

The bingo-casino merger was again raised in October 2006, but it remained a plan while the casino expanded in February 2008 to add nearly 1,000 more slots and created Sticks Sports Bar.

A parking area for recreational vehicles was added, including hookups for sewer and water so travelers could comfortably come and play for a day or two. 

Again, the games did not stop during construction.

Fewer than two years later, in January 2010, the first phase of a massive $75 million overhaul began that added a new cashier’s cage, Player’s Club area, Rapids Food Court, Reflections Gift Shop and the Cascades, offering guest more services, dining options and shopping choices.

The casino/Bingo Palace merger finally became official in October 2011 with construction of the hotel beginning at the same time, and the casino continued operating with no gaming interrupted by the work.

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