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Shoshones plan big expansion of casino near Lander

Mar 29, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The Shoshone Rose Casino is planning a $38 million expansion that would triple the number of games, create a water park, and possibly add a bar.

With the addition, the Shoshone Rose would eclipse the Wind River Casino as the largest gambling center in the state.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe plans to break ground in June on a new building next to the current Shoshone Rose Casino about four miles north of Lander on U.S . Highway 287 on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Construction is projected to take a year, and the expansion is scheduled to open in June 2014.

"I believe it's another phase they're going through in moving forward and expanding their economic base," casino general manager Brian VanEnkenvoort said referring to the Eastern Shoshone tribe.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe is seeking an architectural and contractor team to design and build the expansion. The deadline for proposals is April 22.

Plans call for a 100-room hotel, 30,000-square-foot indoor water park, and a 750-seat event space. VanEnkenvoort said the water park to be added to the Shoshone Rose likely would include water slides, wading pools and a "lazy river."

The casino would run a shuttle service and will have a space for buses to drop people off and pick them up. A gift shop also is part of the plan, as well as three restaurants.

According to the written request for proposals on the project, a bar and lounge will be included in the gaming center's design.

Alcohol policy

Alcohol sales currently are not permitted anywhere on the Wind River Indian Reservation, and VanEnkenvoort said to his knowledge no decision has been made to allow alcohol sales at the planned expansion.

Whether serving liquor will be allowed is a political matter the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes will have to resolve, he said.

Representatives of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council could not be reached for comment by press time.

Economic impact

VanEnkenvoort said the addition would bring 150 to 200 jobs to the Shoshone Rose Casino, where 125 people currently work. A total of 700 new slot machines and game tables will join the 327 current machines to bring the total to more than 1,000.

At 100 rooms, the planned Shoshone Rose hotel would be slightly larger than the Wind River Casino's 90-room facility.

Located two miles south of Riverton, the Northern Arapahoe Tribe's Wind River Casino has 750 slot machines and several table games and is the largest casino in Wyoming.

The reservation has two other, smaller gambling centers: the Little Wind Casino in Ethete and the 789 Smokeshop just south of Riverton.