Casino Expansion - South Dakota tribal casino breaks ground for expansion

Yankton, South Dakota (AP) September 2010

The Yankton Sioux Tribe has begun expanding its Fort Randall Casino in southeast South Dakota.

Casino manager Mike Redlightning said during a groundbreaking ceremony during August that the first phase of the three-phase project will feature a new gambling floor with a ventilation system designed to eliminate smoke. It should be completed by next June.

“We will have an environment that is better for customers,” he said.

The casino also will add new gambling machines and upgrade blackjack, poker and bingo areas during the first phase, which is being financed through a $10 million loan from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Prior Lake, Minn.

The second phase of the expansion is to include a 100-room hotel, and the third phase a new lounge including an entertainment area and a restaurant. Those projects are to be done over the next several years.

“This will be a great improvement for our tribe,” Redlightning said. “This will offer us long-term benefits. We will raise our standard of living, and it will provide jobs for the surrounding communities.”

Tribal officials said the casino that opened in 1991 already is the largest employer in Charles Mix County with about 300 workers.