Casino Journal: Interior Motives - Tribal Resorts Look Inward and Turn to Amenities and Renovation to Grow Existing Business and Provide Market Differentiation
by Paul Doocey
When the Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., first opened its doors in 2007, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians-owned property’s primary claim to fame was its 130,000-square-foot casino—the largest and only land-based gaming facility within a 150-mile patch of Southwest Michigan, according to company literature at the time.
Fast forward five years, and the emphasis at Four Winds New Buffalo has definitely strayed from its formerly casino-centric approach. Indeed, the property is in the midst of a multi-phase expansion which seems to be extremely weighted toward the non-gaming end of the casino resort business. This past year has seen the opening of a 250-room hotel tower; the Silver Creek Event Center, which is a 1,500 seat, multi-use facility that hosts concerts, meetings, special events, conferences, and banquets; and, most recently, the Hard Rock Cafe Four Winds, a two-level restaurant/nightclub with seating for over 275 people and a performance stage. “Whether you enjoy quality, classic American food or love being surrounded by one-of-a-kind memorabilia from your favorite artist, the Hard Rock Cafe Four Winds will provide a restaurant and entertainment experience unparalleled in Southwest Michigan,” said Matt Harkness, general manager for Four Winds Casinos at the restaurant’s opening last July.