The Gun Lake Tribe announced today that its contract with Station Casinos LLC to manage the Gun Lake Casino expired Tuesday, Feb. 6, pursuant to federal Indian gaming law limiting the term of management contracts to seven years.
“This is a significant milestone because we are taking another step toward complete self-sufficiency as a tribal government,” said Tribal Chairman Scott Sprague. “We appreciate the relationship with Station Casinos, as it enabled us to open a professional gaming operation from day one. We also gained valuable knowledge and experience that we will use to continue our success.”
The Tribe has prepared to assume casino management responsibility for many years. A transition plan had been developed dating back to the February 2011 opening of the casino. A more detailed plan has been implemented over the last few years, focusing on operational personnel and technology.
A key step in the transition occurred when the Tribe hired Sal Semola as president and chief operating officer of Gun Lake Casino. Semola has brought more than 40 years of experience in the gaming and hospitality industry working throughout the United States at numerous successful tribal and commercial properties.
Semola came on board last October to finalize the transition of the tribe assuming operational control by providing a seamless transition in all areas of management of the Casino, and working on the master plan.
“It has been a pleasure working with the Gun Lake Tribe on the management of the Gun Lake Casino for the last seven years, and we wish them the best of success going forward,” said Richard J. Haskins, president of Station Casinos LLC.
Besides Station Casinos’ management expertise, three individuals from Mt. Pleasant contributed to the management at Gun Lake. Sid Smith, Bart LaBelle and Jim Fabiano were early investors in the casino
The casino currently has more than 1,000 employees. The tribe has shared more than $100 million with state and local governments over 14 separate distributions since the casino opened.