Casino opening April 30Published 11:14am Monday, April 1, 2013
There will be a casino opening in Dowagiac at noon April 30. April Fools!
Except the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians isn’t kidding about Four Winds Dowagiac, 58700 M-51 South, as this area well knows.
Four Winds Dowagiac includes 300 slot machines, four table games and a Timbers restaurant seating approximately 30 people.
There is also a non-smoking area with approximately 20 slot machines.
The casino maintains the same look and feel as Four Winds New Buffalo (2007) and Four Winds Hartford (2011).
“Dowagiac is home to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians tribal government, as well as many Pokagon citizens, which made it the natural location for our newest property,” said Matt Wesaw, Pokagon Band chairman. “We are thrilled to open this casino, which has created approximately 100 new jobs for Pokagon citizens and people living in nearby communities. The casino will also support the development of ancillary businesses in the area.”
“We feel that Four Winds Dowagiac is sized accordingly to meet the demand of the local market,” said Matt Harkness, general manager for Four Winds Casinos. “Additionally, through our player loyalty program, the W Club, players who visit Four Winds Dowagiac will have the same opportunities to earn points, redeem offers and participate in promotions as they do at our other locations.”
City Manager Kevin Anderson said Four Winds Dowagiac “is going to mean one more piece of the economic picture here in Dowagiac.”
Fully assembled, that picture points to “rebound.”
“We can get wrapped up in the negative things that have happened” since the Great Recession of 2008,” Anderson said. “We can’t deny they happened, but we have made some recovery,” such as Ameriwood, Lyons Industries, Creative Foam and a “surprising” number of jobs incubating in the business center established in the former National Copper Center plant.
“I haven’t heard a lot of strong conversation” opposing the casino, Anderson agreed. One, because 100 jobs is like landing a factory. Two, when he arrived almost five years ago, it had been stated there would be a gaming facility placed here eventually.
Short term, Anderson doesn’t think the casino is large enough to noticeably impact the M-51 commercial corridor, but will over time because of its “great potential” for growth.
Enough for big-box stores, such as Wal-Mart, which scouted the area in the past, to return?
“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said Monday.