The Positive Effect Casinos Have On The Economy

Aug. 5, 2009

After more than 10 years of planning, strategy, and vision, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi opened the doors to FireKeepers Casino in August of 2009.

The property features a 111,700-square foot gaming floor with 2,900 slot machines, 70 table games, multiple restaurants and lounges, a live poker room and bingo room. This $300 million project created a unique gaming destination in the mid-west all while initially creating 1,500 jobs for the local community. FireKeepers Casino Hotel is located just off Interstate 94 at Exit 104 in Battle Creek, Michigan and is a favorite gaming destination for residents in central and southern Michigan, northern Indiana and western Ohio.

March 1, 2011

Less than two years later, on March 1, 2011, FireKeepers Casino broke ground on a major expansion. This initiative included an 8-story resort-style hotel and expanded Bingo room. During this construction phase, the tribe’s commitment to local spending resulted in awarding contracts that total more than $25 million to the State of Michigan.

December 12, 2012

FireKeepers hotel expansion opened its doors to the public on December 12, 2012. The expansion showcased a 243 room resort-style hotel complete with indoor pool, exercise facility, a full-service restaurant named Smoke ‘n Fire, and business center. The addition also features a functional multi-purpose Event Center that is capable of seating up to 2,000 guests as a concert venue. When not in use as a concert venue for superstar performers such as Tony Bennett, Reba McIntyre, and Tim Allen, the versatile space can accommodate banquets, corporate meetings, trade shows, and other events. This expansion brought 300 additional jobs to the Battle Creek area.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel, in just over two years of operation, has been named a Four Diamond Hotel by AAA, one of the hospitality industry’s premier honors. The 243 room hotel, featuring 26 suites, earns an achievement that ranks FireKeepers as a premier establishment esteemed by AAA’s professional inspectors. The Four Diamond recognition is given to just five percent of the more than 28,000 approved by AAA properties rated each year. FireKeepers received this award again in 2018.

April 2016

In April 2016, FireKeepers casino renovated guest favorite Café 24/7 restaurant. The new design was developed by Kalamazoo architects, Seven Generations Architecture and Engineering and construction was directed by Moore Trosper Construction of Holt, Michigan. The refreshed atmosphere combines an old-school diner feel with new modern features such as contemporary lighting, stylish graphics, and even a chalkboard wall to write specials. The Café 24/7 menu will feature new, fresh items, as well as some of the classic favorites like the All American Burger, Hot Turkey Sandwich and Chicken Pot Pie.

Also in April 2016, FireKeepers announced another expansion to the property, which would introduce a convenience store and gas station located adjacent to the casino. The convenience store and gas station, named “FireKeepers Pit Stop”, features a car wash, a convenience store with various food and beverage items, as well as a place to fill up your gas tank while visiting FireKeepers. The FireKeepers Pit Stop opened November 1, 2016.

December 2016

Dacey’s Taphouse opened in December 2016. A new restaurant and bar that focuses on Michigan’s craft beer industry as well as great food, the Taphouse features a rustic atmosphere, with contemporary features opens to the casino floor and comfortably seats 175.

2017

2017 marked the opening of The Fire Hub, a unique, multi-million dollar casino community reinvestment project, with FireKeepers Casino directly purchasing, redeveloping and creating a downtown restaurant concept, plus adjacent food pantry to assist those less fortunate in the community, all housed in a restored historic city firehouse. Eighty percent of profits are pooled to benefit local charities, while twenty percent provide maintenance capital dollars. Another major element of the project is the development of nearby tribal lands to farm and grow vegetables, with a goal of delivering a free salad bar to students in area communities. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder joined the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribal Council, owners of FireKeepers Casino Hotel, along with a large contingent of elected officials and key Michigan business partners to commemorate the Grand Opening.

May 2017

Kathy George was named CEO in May of 2017 after serving for five years as General Manager and Vice President of Hotel Operations. Her commitment to service is not exclusive to her work, she is also very active in the local community. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, plays a large role in raising funds for S.A.F.E. Place, the area’s domestic violence shelter, and has served as the Tournament Director for the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship, a stop on the Symetra Tour – Road to The LPGA.

June 17, 2019

FireKeepers executive staff and leaders of the NHBP announced in July of 2018 their plans to construct a new hotel tower. With more rooms and potentially more meeting space, FireKeepers will be able to market and attract guests from greater distances, bringing new visitors to the area and boosting the local economy. The company broke ground on the expansion on June 17, 2019.

Construction on the hotel tower will provide an additional 203 hotel rooms, including fourteen suites, plus a transformed hotel lobby area, a new signature restaurant, new high limit slot and table game areas and a new VIP lounge. The groundbreaking ceremony took place less than two months before the tribe celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Grand Opening of FireKeepers Casino.

The new eight-story hotel will be designed in alignment with FireKeepers’ existing standards of excellence, as the current hotel has been designated a AAA Four Diamond award winner for the past five consecutive years. The new hotel rooms will feature upscale built-in décor along with the latest in guest service technology.

The welcoming 39,000 square foot first level will deliver a vibrant new lobby bar and front desk while increasing the focus on seven main pillars which represent the Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom.

FireKeepers signature restaurant, Nibi, one of Michigan’s finest dining experiences, will enjoy a new location with seating for approximately 125, and an interior that retains a focus on the tribal namesake, water, plus a new fire feature. Nibi will also feature expanded wine storage and presentation, and a private dining area for up to 20, perfect for special parties or small business meetings.

The construction project also redesigns a section of FireKeepers existing gaming space. When complete, there will be new High Limit Gaming sections for slots and table games, plus a new bar and VIP lounge for select Red Hot Rewards Club members.

The scale of this project will provide an economic boost for many sectors of the construction community. At the peak of construction, there will be roughly 250 skilled trades working on the site. While it is too early to announce a completion date, the initial target is late 2020.

Also coming soon, sports wagering and online gaming! FireKeepers leadership announced their partnership with Scientific Games Corporation to provide sports betting and iGaming to its players, following the recent passage of a bill legalizing sports and online casino betting in the state. Scientific Games will launch retail sports betting at FireKeepers Casino as well as online sports betting and iGaming across the entire state of Michigan once regulations allow.

Source: FireKeepers website

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