Michigan’s Gun Lake Casino plans to break ground on its next expansion phase tomorrow, May 19. The ceremony comes more than a year after the tribal casino announced the $300 million project.
Gun Lake Casino is located about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. Owned and operated by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians — more commonly and easier referred to as simply the Gun Lake Tribe — Gun Lake Casino completed a $100 million overhaul of its primary economic engine just last year.
But in April of 2021, the tribe said the work wouldn’t stop there. The federally recognized tribe instead revealed that it would embark on its largest investment to date — a $300 million undertaking.
Thirteen months later, Gun Lake officials say planning has finished and construction is ready to begin. The expansion is highlighted by a 15-story, 252-room hotel tower that will come with a 32,000-square-foot “aquadome.”
The indoor pool complex is to feature three pools enclosed in a glass dome. With the casino less than 30 miles east of Lake Michigan, Gun Lake’s Wayland, Mi., hometown endures long and brutal winters. The region averages more than five feet of snowfall each year.
The current Gun Lake Casino is primarily a gaming-first facility. The casino’s website advertises “loose slots,” plus dining and entertainment. The Gun Lake Casino floor offers more than 2,500 slot machines, 47 table games, and a sportsbook.
Gun Lake tribal leaders are seeking to diversify the casino into a full-fledged resort.
The hotel has been a goal of the tribe for a number of years,” explained Gun Lake spokesperson Zach Harig. The expansion, he added, will transform the property “into the entertainment destination of the Midwest.”
The “aquadome” will be divided into three sections. One pool will be reserved for adults aged 21 and older. A second pool area will be for families, and a third for VIP guests seeking a secluded pool environment.
At night, the VIP space will be at times transformed into a nightclub, not unlike the outdoor pool complexes found on the Las Vegas Strip. Private cabanas, dancing, and DJs are planned for weekend nights.
Gun Lake officials say more information will be provided during tomorrow’s groundbreaking. But construction is expected to run three years, with the expansion welcoming its first guests in late 2025.
Gun Lake Firing Online
Since last year, the Gun Lake Tribe has been operating expanded gaming options that are providing new sources of revenue. Through its iGaming and sports betting partner Parx Interactive, Gun Lake Casino has been operating an online casino site since April of 2021. Its online and in-person sports betting business began in August.
Since its launch, Gun Lake iGaming has won $9.4 million from online gamblers. Gun Lake’s sportsbook is still gaining market share, but to date has reported income of a little north of $403,000.
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