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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Tribe set to unveil casino expansion


AKWESANE - Officials with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Akwesasne Mohawk Casino have a ribbon-cutting media event set for May 9 to unveil the casino’s new $74 million expansion.

Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance and casino General Manager Patrick Bassney each declined to comment on the project prior to the ribbon cutting.

The first addition many will notice as they pass on state Route 37 is the new 150-room hotel that is attached to the casino. Officials had previously said that it will include a spa, pool and fitness area. Next door, Tarbell Management Group worked on a 37-room expansion to the existing Comfort Inn & Suites Akwesasne, providing a total of 101 rooms there. In total, there will be about 250 hotel rooms in the vicinity of the casino in 2013 as opposed to the 64 rooms that had been available at the Comfort Inn.

The Mohawk Bingo Palace, which the tribe has operated for about 27 years, relocated to a 30,000-square-foot expanded area in the casino in March.

In November, the casino launched its new Cascades gaming and entertainment area, a 40,000-square foot expansion to the existing facility. It includes new slot machines and table games as well as a high-end bar and a high-stakes gambling room with $50 per play slot machines.

Mr. Bassney previously stated that the finished casino and hotel will employ about 900 people.

In March of last year, the tribe signed a $110 million deal with Key Bank to pay for the project as well as to re-finance existing casino debt.

Mr. LaFrance previously said the tribe had about 90 assistance programs available when the casino opened in the late 1990s, but now, with the extra gaming monies, that has expanded to more than 200. He said he would like to see some of the new revenues go toward heating fuel assistance, scholarships, drug prevention education for the public and drug preventative training for police. He added that the Hogansburg-Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department will be getting a $1 million ladder truck, courtesy of casino revenues.

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