Casino News

First Nation Claims Its Operations are Threatened by Casino Operator

The Mississaguas of Scugog Island First Nation shared its concerns regarding the operator of Great Blue Heron Casino attempting to take it out of business. The company in question, Great Canadian Entertainment, has recently announced a partnership with Live Nation Canada, which would allow it to promote its new Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto and more.

Recently, the tribe express concerns that the new partnership threatens to cannibalize business at the Great Blue Heron Casino which would then negatively impact the MSIFN’s ability to provide services to its members. The Nation also argued that it was not included in the decision-making process and it was briefed on the agreement shortly before its announcement.

Disregarding the Nation’s Interests

In its statement, the tribe commented that the new partnership was yet another decision without regard or care for its Indigenous partners and host communities. It also reminded that it is heavily reliant on funds generated from the casino, which it owns, to provide basic services to its residents, some of which include safe and clean drinking water.

MSIFN Chief Kelly LaRocca expressed the profound aggression and impact of a recent decision in a statement, highlighting its detrimental effects on the First Nation. The decision to cannibalize the Great Blue Heron and the lack of warning or consultation, with the announcement made public shortly after an email notification, added to the severity of the situation.

The tribe shared it was outraged by the province’s repeated unconscionable actions that violate existing agreements as the province and its gaming regulator failed to defend the tribe’s interest. In order to provide services to members, the tribe uses casino revenue. This was established years ago via numerous arrangements with the province and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Ms. LaRocca also noted that the province inked those agreements with the tribe to prevent exactly this from occurring. She argued for the province to conduct the affairs of the casino in this manner it was absolutely unconscionable. The chief added it was a violation of the Nation’s agreements with the local government and of the principles of reconciliation.

The Tribe’s Other Grievances with the Province

This week, Ms. LaRocca commented on another local issue, one of the extremes of betting ads during sports games. She labelled these betting ads as intrusive and irresponsible. The tribe has sent an open letter to Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, who have promoted betting products, asking them to stop appearing in such endorsements.

Back in 2022, the MSIFN also express its disappointment with the provincial government over the launch of Pickering Casino Resort which is in close proximity to the tribe’s gaming venue. The Nation argued that the province has failed to consult the tribe, which violated an agreement for a limited number of gaming facilities in Durham.

Source: Hall, Chris “Casino operator looking to push Scugog First Nation out of business: MSIFNDurham Region, June 13, 2023