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New Red Lake casino running smoothly

Since it first opened on Dec. 23, general manager Adrian "Ady" Omen says the new Red Lake Casino is up and running smoothly.

The new $21 million Seven Clans Casino, Hotel and Event Center, located along state Highway 89 near the south boundary of the Red Lake Nation, is completely booked for the New Year's holiday, Omen said.

"Things have been going great," he said. "The hotel has been at 80 percent occupancy."

Most guests are from the Red Lake and Bemidji Area. Other visitors have come from Minneapolis, Grand Forks, N.D., and Canada.

"We thought the snow storms would prevent people from coming," Omen said. "But people kept coming even through the snow storm."

Originally Red Lake gaming officials predicted the new casino would bring in about 50 jobs to Red Lake. After it opened, the number of jobs doubled.

"After we started hiring people and filling in all the positions, we realized there was a need for more jobs. With the hotel, restaurant and events center, it ended up being a 24-hours-a-day business," Omen said.

The hotel offers 40 rooms, 20 of which have fire places, with 9-foot ceilings. There are hot-tub rooms and large master suites. Hotel rates start at $69 and up. The complex also features an event center with a capacity of 800 in straight-row seating or 350-400 in banquet-table seating, gift shop, 75-seat restaurant, snack bar, 30-seat patio for summer outdoor dining and gaming hall.

"We've had good feedback on our food and services. People like our restaurant hours, which are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.," Omen said .

The gaming hall provides players with 300 machines, four blackjack tables and two poker tables.

"I'd estimate we've had over 300 people a day," Omen said. "Everything in our marketing study is coming together."

With the opening of the new facility, the current gaming hall built on the north side of the Red Lake Humanities Center has closed. There has been talk of it becoming a fitness center, Omen said, but its future is still in the works.

The Red Lake Casino prepares for its grand opening Jan. 21. Jan. 22 and 23, and will feature free performances by Powwow Comedy Jam and Crystal Shawanda.