First Nation Resists New Pickering Casino Resort

Pickering Casino Resort image
First Nation. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The development of the Pickering Casino Resort has been topical for several years, although it has raised a few brows with the local Native American communities. 

The first phase of the Pickering Casino Resort development has been finalised, with the new venue welcoming its first guests last weekend.  However, the opening was accompanied by controversy, with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island expressing their opposition to the project.

The First Nations operator of Scugog Island’s Great Blue Herron Casino has reiterated that the new casino development contradicts a previous agreement with the provincial authorities.  The tribal leaders have aimed to cap the number of new gambling venues in the Durham area to protect the existing tribal gambling complex.

Mississaugas of Scugog Island

Tribal gaming operations provide indigenous communities with a way to support their communities and various programmes aiming to see them thrive. Great Blue Heron Casino in Point Perry is one of the leading gaming complexes in the region. The Mississaugas of Scugog Island opened the gambling hall in 1997, and, ever since then, the business has grown from strength to strength, with a planned venue expansion on the cards.

The Mississaugas have now approached premier Doug Ford to raise awareness of the previous agreement. According to that deal, the tribal casino must not have its operation jeopardised by new casino venues built nearby. The distance between the Great Blue Heron Casino and the newly opened Pickering Casino Resort is about 60 kilometres, but this is still too close and not in line with the existing agreement, according to the tribal representatives.

Mississauga chief, Kelly la Rocca, noted that premier Ford has once again backtracked on previously inked arrangements to achieve his political goals. Back in 2018, the provincial government greenlighted a set of regulations, making it possible for the Pickering Casino Resort, then called Durham Live, to go ahead.

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