National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Joins Pokagon Tribe at the Grand Opening Ceremonies of their Indiana Casino

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Chairman John P. Warren addresses the audience at the grand opening ceremonies of the Four Winds South Bend Casino in Southbend, Indiana

Southbend, Indiana - January 17, 2018 - The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians celebrated the grand opening of the tribe's Four Winds South Bend Casino in South Bend on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. 

National Indian Gaming Association Chairman, Ernie Stevens, Jr., joined Pokagon Chairman John P. Warren, the Pokagon Tribal Council, Pokagon Elders Council and the Pokagon Gaming Authority in the opening events and ribbon cutting activities.

According to a press statement, Pokagon Chairman Warren said, "From the moment of groundbreaking through this ribbon cutting, the positive support from local, county and state governments have been extraordinary," He added, "We could not have done this without the support of many people and agencies. We also extend our gratitude to the Pokagon Elders Council and Pokagon Gaming Authority, along with the entire Tribal Government. Without their knowledge and guidance, we would not be here today."

The Four Winds Casino, located in South Bend, Indiana is the first tribal casino in the State of Indiana and adds 1,200 jobs.  It houses about 1,800 electronic class II gaming devices, four restaurants, and three bars.  The Pokagon Band already operates three casinos in southwestern Michigan.

In 2016, The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) approved its application to take into trust 166-acres of Pokagon Band land located in South Bend, Indiana. This historic decision to restore the Pokagon Band's ancestral homeland marks the first restoration of sovereign tribal land in the state of Indiana. The Four Winds South Bend Casino is part of a Tribal Homeland Restoration project, which includes a tribal housing project, a community center as well as facilities for health services.

NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. said, "I congratulate the Pokagon Band on this historic grand opening event. This event is more than celebrating the opening of the Four Winds South Bend Casino; it will be another great testament to the success of Indian gaming and all that it will bring to tribal communities."  He added, "It is the mechanism that provides additional revenues to help address the expanded tribal governmental services, employment and economic opportunities beyond gaming.  Indian Gaming has been a catalyst for many Tribal Governments to not only enrich the lives of their members but to also add to the local and state economies around them."

Chairman Stevens shared the national impacts that Indian Gaming has on the American economy. Indian Gaming Operations generated $31.2 Billion in revenues and $4.21 Billion in ancillary revenues through hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, resorts/spas and other spending.  Total Revenues generated from Indian Gaming was $35.41 Billion in 2016.  This represents a 4.4% increase over 2015.  In 2016 Indian Gaming provided almost 308,713 jobs throughout the Country plus an additional 4,000 Regulatory Staff are also employed for a total of 312,719 jobs generated by Indian Gaming.  332,417 indirect jobs are created through Indian Gaming, totaling 679,417 direct and indirect jobs.  These jobs equate to improved quality of life for those employees and excellent benefits for healthcare, disability, and retirement.  Indian Gaming is proud to be a partner in enhancing and improving our communities.