Trying his luck: Adams Lake Indian Band Chief Robin Billy gets the Chances gaming centre up and running on Monday

Gaming centre opens in Salmon Arm

Chances Salmon Arm predicted to boost regional economy, attract tourists.

Neon lights glow, reels spin, faces are focused.

Chances Salmon Arm officially opened its doors on Monday, July 20, providing the public its first taste of a full-fledged gaming centre in Salmon Arm.

The gaming centre is built on Adams Lake Indian Band land at 384 Trans-Canada Hwy. and is a collaboration between the band and Berezan Management.

Elder Joseph Johnny of the Adams Lake Band began the opening ceremony with a prayer and blessing in the Secwepemc language.

In English he said how good it is to see his people working again, adding he is pleased to be speaking  his own language.

Smudging and singing were also part of the opening ceremony.

Chief Robin Billy of the Adams Lake Band thanked the developers, acknowledging a new era and relationship with the City of Salmon Arm. He said it’s good “to stand each other up,” as was the intention in 1910.

He noted that a lot of people have gone through the interview process, a process which resulted in the hiring of 85 people.

“It’s a very great day,” he concluded. “I wish you all great success in the future.”

Jim Lightbody of the BC Lottery Corporation said this will be the corporation’s fourth partnership with First Nations bands. He said in 2014 gaming grants worth a total of $600,000 went to 36 organizations in Salmon Arm.

Lightbody said the province of B.C. founded the lottery corporation 30 years ago and has given back $18 billion over those 30 years.

Ralph Berezan of Berezan Management pointed out that work on the gaming centre for Salmon Arm started more than five years ago, noting the effort that former Adams Lake chief Nelson Leon, who was in attendance, contributed.

“Everybody put their effort into this,” he said.

Once the formal ceremony was over, the crowd moved inside.

Chances Salmon Arm offers 99 slot machines, one electronic blackjack machine and 124 electronic and 24 paper bingo seats – for those who prefer daubers – on its 9,000-square-foot gaming floor. The bingo section was not open but is expected to be ready on Friday.

The spacious modern look with open ceilings and exposed duct work conveys something of an aquatic theme, with a wave-shaped ceiling and a wall of bubbles separating the gaming centre from the dining area. A couple of slot machines sport the name Lobstermania and Fishing Bob.

It wasn’t those that produced  the first winner, however.

Just a few minutes after putting $50 in one of the machines, Sheila and Mike – who didn’t wish to have their last names used – were thrilled to see a row of five owls times 10 on their machine.

“We’re up 400 bucks in the first 10 minutes,” grinned Sheila, giving Mike a hug.

Also in the gaming centre is a Game Sense station, providing tips for avoiding addictive behaviour.

Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson attended the opening, saying the gaming centre will contribute to the Adams Lake Band as well as the regional economy.

Iva Jules, land manager with the Adams Lake band, who was also involved in the early days of planning, said, “We’re kind of in shock. It took so long to get here and now it’s here. To see our band members employed here makes it even more special.”

Gina Johnny was equally pleased.

“It’s so exciting. We’re all winners,” she laughed.

The Adams Lake band will receive 10 per cent of the province’s net income from the centre. The lottery corporation projects revenues will be about $7.7 million for the first full year in operation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Transport truck driver ticketed after rear-ending semi, closing Highway 1 in Shuswap

Truck catches fire, Chase RCMP ticket man for following too closely

Automated phone scam targets Shuswap residents

Scammers may be spoofing a local number and claiming they are with the CRA

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

Homeowners arrive in North Shuswap to find thieves busy breaking in

Chase RCMP request assistance from public in tracking down suspects

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Most Read