Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News email@example.com
The Chippewa Cree Tribe’s 20,000 sq. foot Northern Winz Casino is in full swing now, after receiving its license to sell liquor Monday. The casino welcomed more than 2,000 guests during its weeklong grand opening that began March 30 with live music by Chan Romero and the Belltones. From sagebrush to sales, the Northern Winz Casino dream began with tribal members Joe Rosette Sr., Raymond Parker Sr. And Joe Demontiney Sr., who envisioned placing the casino in the exact location where it now stands. With the motto “Better By Far,” the casino has big payouts and even bigger plans to build a hotel in the near future, with financing currently plans in the final stages. The motto came to the developers of the casino by chance a vintage tin sign that remained on the future casino property on U.S. Highway 87 marked the future for the Chippewa Cree tribe. “We’re not going to stop here,” Ted Whitford, chairman of the Chippewa Cree Community Development Corp., which has five community members and four council members, said of the casino. “It didn’t start with us, but it has finally came to be. This is only the first phase. Now we’re working on phase two the next phase is a hotel and RV park.” Joining more than 1,700 Montana casinos with over $334 million in gross revenue, Northern Winz will not only provide slot machine and live poker tournament gambling, but live entertainment with bands and karaoke. It also offers dining, including breakfast, and alcoholic beverages. Grand opening week had many people join the players club with guests from Canada, Fort Belknap and Salish- Kootenai. Tour buses also came from Great Falls and Glasgow to visit the ritzy casino. Every person who joined the players club received a silver mug and white T-shirt along with complimentary beverages and appetizers throughout the weekend, according to the Northern Winz Marketing Department. Casino staff has prided themselves on learning the intricate basics of the newest “Vegas Style” secrets of running of the new casino, which has 120 employees and 12 departments, including 350 Bally slot machines, 10 poker/keno machines, poker tables, food, beverages, guest services, gift shop, marketing, security, surveillance, maintenance, housekeeping, accounting and administration. “I think the council did something great with our new casino I love it,” Joann Ahenakew, Chippewa Cree elder, said of the grand opening. “It’s wonderful. I am proud of the leadership of our chairman, Chance Houle, for bringing this casino into reality.” A Poker Tournament held Thursday awarded $2,056 to Darryl Stock. The winner of the Mustang drawing on April 1 was Mario Patacsil Sr. And the drawing winner on Sunday was Lorraine Jacobs. Money wheel spins with winners every hour began Wednesday as part of the special promotion “Big Money Wednesdays,” where a slot customer will be chosen to spin the Money Wheel for a chance to win up to $2,000. “Senior Mondays” also began last week with all people 55 and over receiving a coupon for $30 in machine credit for $20 in cash. Karaoke night will be held every Thursday beginning this Thursday and will award cash prizes for a Northern Winz-style “American Idol.” “We’ll be giving away a 2007 Hummer in the near future,” “Rattlesnake” Bob Swan of RJS & Associates said of future Northern Winz promotions. “We welcome all people from the Hi-Line.” For more information, call Northern Winz Casino at 395-5420.