Four Winds Casino South Bend in South Bend, Indiana is hoping to be able to add more gambling options amid the ongoing expansion of the state’s casino gaming and sports betting industry.
The property opened doors in early 2018 as Indiana’s first tribal casino. It is owned and operated by Michigan-based Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The property features 1,800 gaming machines and a poker room.
Its owners are looking to add table games such as craps, roulette, and blackjack as well as sports betting. However, they will be able to expand the casino’s existing gambling options only if the state agrees to that.
The tribe asked last month Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to open talks on the potential authorization of sports betting and table games at its South Bend casino. The state’s top official appointed Indiana Gaming Commission Director Sara Gonso Tait to lead the negotiating committee that would discuss the terms of a potential agreement between the Pokagon tribe and Indiana. However, the committee is yet to be established.
The Four Winds casino occupies 175,000 square feet of space located on 166 acres of tribal trust land. The Pokagons operate three other Four Winds-branded casinos, with all of them being located in their home state, Michigan.
No Timeframe Yet
Ms. Tait declined to provide a timeframe for the beginning of talks with the tribe. If the Pokagons are allowed to expand gambling at their casino, they will be able to add table games and sports betting services.
Indiana legalized athletic gambling earlier this year and the state’s first sportsbook opened doors on September 1, just days before the start of the new NFL season. Most of the state’s commercial casinos have opted to offer sports betting services. Indiana lawmakers also authorized the provision of mobile betting, but this service is yet to be rolled out.
Aside from gaming machines and a poker room, the South Bend casino also features four restaurants, three bars, a lounge, a coffee shop, and a retail shop that mostly sells casino merchandise and gift items.
The property was the first tribal casino to open doors in Indiana. The early 2018 opening marked the first phase in its development. The South Bend casino is the second largest property in the Four Winds group, behind the Pokagons’ flagship location – Four Winds New Buffalo, which features 130,000 square feet of gaming space with well over 3,000 slot machines, a 1,500-seat events center, five restaurants, a Hard Rock Cafe, and a hotel with 415 rooms.
The Pokagon tribe is set to hold a press conference today to announce an expansion project for its South Bend property. Original plans for the property included an 18-story, 500-room hotel. However, the tribe announced in late 2016 that those amenities would only be added if the casino business was going strong. It is to be seen whether the casino’s expansion would include these.
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