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Saskatchewan's newest gaming facility opened its doors to the public on Saturday, December 14, 1996. Yorkton's Painted Hand Casino is the last of four casinos to be established in the province under the jurisdiction of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA).
Opening ceremonies for the Painted Hand Casino were attended by approximately 300 people including dignitaries from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), the Saskatchewan Government, the City of Yorkton, Saskatchewan First Nations and Aboriginal organizations across the province.
In his remarks, Yorkton Tribal Council Representative Tony Cote stated, "The casino is the first mega-project in the Yorkton Tribal Council area. I congratulate the Chiefs for their patience, commitment and cooperation that makes this unique business venture a reality."
The casino is expected to bring new life to Yorkton's downtown district. "The Painted Hand Casino will provide a major economic boost to another community that has been anxiously waiting for this opportunity," said FSIN Vice-Chief Dan Bellegarde, on behalf of FSIN Chief Blaine Favel.
Saskatchewan Deputy Premier Dwain Lingenfelter also considers economic development to be "crucially important". He cited job creation as the driving force behind moving forward with gaming in Saskatchewan.
Sakimay First Nation Chief Lindsay Kaye says that Yorkton and the surrounding area will benefit from the establishment of the casino. But, he stresses that "when the profits are made, they are going to go to the First Nation level".
Following the opening ceremonies, Elders cut the ribbon to officially open the facility.
SIGA CEO Dutch Lerat
The 6,000 square foot casino is housed in a newly renovated building and features more than 100 slot machines and video lottery terminals in addition to blackjack tables, a roulette wheel and a big wheel. The facility also contains a restaurant and gift shop.
The Painted Hand Casino is the last of four casinos established under the Casino Operating Agreement. The agreement, signed by the FSIN and the provincial government in February 1995, allowed for the institution of four casinos under FSIN jurisdiction, through SIGA, to be located throughout the province.
The Gold Eagle Casino in North Battleford and the Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert opened in March, 1996. The Bear Claw Casino, located on the White Bear Reserve, opened in November, 1996.