Smoking allowed in new casino

Smoking will be allowed at a new casino that opened today on the Tsuu T’ina Nation, the band vows.

“Absolutely. It’s a jurisdictional issue. Our laws supercede the provincial ones,” said Chief Sanford Big Plume at the opening of the CAD 40-million Grey Eagle Casino on the southeastern edge of Calgary.

Darrell Crowchild, president of Tsuu T’ina Gaming Corp., said there will be room for non-smokers as well.

“Because the casino is located on a Frist Nation, bylaws allow us to offer both smoking and non-smoking environments,” he said.

“We’re investing heavily in state of the art ventilation systems to provide a comfortable environment for everyone.”

Dozens of people lined up outside the doors, which opened for the first time at 4 p.m.

The casino, developed and managed by Sonco Gaming LP, features more than 600 slot machines, 59 gaming tables, a 24-hour poker room, two restaurants and two bars. It has parking for 1,100 vehicles.

It will employ about 400 people.

The local MLA is worried about traffic headaches the facility poses for neighbouring communities in southwest Calgary.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Liberal MLA Craig Cheffins, representative for Calgary-Elbow, says he’s worried the Grey Eagle Casino will fuel traffic problems by attracting thousands of vehicles to the intersection of 37th Street S.W. and Glenmore Trail.

Cheffins is calling on the province and the Tsuu T’ina Nation to ease area congestion by coming to a timely agreement on the southwest ring road.