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Revamped Grand Portage casino holds grand opening (4 photos)

The casino completed Phase 3 of construction which included a revitalization of the restaurant and lounge, and event centre with banquet and meeting rooms.

GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. -- It’s official. The region’s newest gambling hotspot will be just a few minutes from the U.S. border.

The Grand Portage Lodge & Casino hosted the grand opening to its renovated doors on Thursday.

Although renovated parts of the casino have been open for roughly two years, the third stage of the makeover is complete, and the final product is fully realized.

The revamped casino has 95 renovated rooms, a new pool, a new fitness centre, an improved lounge, an architecturally floral tone, and of course, a series of new slots.

“Within the last three years we’ve decided to create something brand new,” general manager Steven StandingCloud said.

“It’s kind of like a new beginning,” tribal chairman Norman Deschamp said. “This new facility will ensure that we’ll be able provide entertainment and jobs in the future.”

The scenic small town of Grand Portage is a predominantly Indigenous community tucked beside the border, with a beautiful view of Lake Superior.

StandingCloud is excited in the potential of the area.

“It’s always been a destination point for the [Minnesota] and people from Thunder Bay,” StandingCloud said. “We believe we're nestled into a beautiful location.”

Part of the mandate for the casino is to offer a more personalized experience in comparison to some of the region’s other casinos, StandingCloud said.

“We know all our customers by name, so we can offer something those bigger casinos can not.”

“It’s much more open, it’s not as crowded, and there’s a sense of pride here,” Deschamp said.

The casino has, and will, continue to provide many positives for the economy of the Grand Portage.

“It means everything,” Deschamp said. “It means jobs... the resources that come from the facility pay for health care, and education. So it means a lot for the community.”