Hundreds packed into the Shoshone Bannock Casino and Hotel this morning to officially open their latest expansion.

Fort Hall officially opened an over 85 thousand square feet casino directly attached to the hotel.

They broke ground in 2016, but some tribe members have been waiting almost 30 years for a facility like this.

Nathan Small, Chairman of the Fort Hall Business Council, said "It's been a long time... Almost 30 years of building foundation to finally get to something that we have here today..."

Fort hall has been building the foundation of gaming on the reservation since 1990... But it wasn't until the mid 2000's that the council approved the Shoshone bannock casino and hotel project.

That finally culminated in the completion of the project just this year, and people came out in droves over last week's soft opening to see what the new facility is all about.

Pamela Gallegos, CEO, said "167 machines is what we first opened up to... Those machines have been at about 80 percent occupancy since day one... Every section that we open up... The guests just flood towards it... And it's not emptying the other seats... They are really filling up..."

This new facility focuses on embracing the tribe culture.  From the museum section right in the front door, to the designs in the architecture.

This new add-on to the hotel feels like a fully functioning Vegas style Casino.

It's the first building in Fort Hall to be built as a casino, as the old building was not originally designed for the machine type gaming.

Small also said "It wasn't really built to be a casino it was basically built to be a bingo hall... But now what we have here is a building that was built to be a casino not a bingo hall... And we built a bingo hall along with it..."

The project started in 2016 and with this ribbon cutting the project opened up on time despite speed bumps along the way.

Gallegos also said "The minute I started we hit the ground running because that's when we decided to move forward very quickly with the project... I didn't have very much time to settle in and say let's look at this... It was fast and furious and let's run... And so it's been an exciting year... Very great staff and a lot of hard work..."

Originally there was going to be a phase three to the project, but the council is going to wait and enjoy the fruits of their labor before moving forward on anything else.


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