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Alberta tribe bets on casino

18 December 2006

ALEXIS WHITECOURT RESERVE, Alberta – As reported by the Edmonton Journal: "Framed by a graceful stand of towering poplars, Chief Cameron Alexis surveys the serene 30-acre clearing where his band is building a $63.5-million casino, hotel and truck stop.

"Alexis has heard the arguments against the project: It will increase crime and problem gambling; finding people to build and staff it will be difficult in Alberta's tight labour market; its unlikely location on the Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation's reserve six kilometres west of Whitecourt makes it an economic gamble.

"…The chief hopes the Eagle River Casino and Travel Plaza, which is to open in January 2008 at the junction of highways 43 and 32, will spur Alexis Sioux to move to the Whitecourt reserve, a heavily treed tract that is now uninhabited. Revenues from the casino's dozen table games and 200 slot machines, full-service truck stop and 106-room Marriott Fairfield hotel could also reverse the fortunes of the 900 Alexis band members who live an hour southeast on the First Nation's impoverished main reserve on Lac Ste. Anne's northern shore.

"…Like the Enoch Cree, the Alexis Sioux joined forces with Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming to build their casino complex…"

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