LANDER — From the entrance of the Shoshone Rose Casino, Bill Sniffin looked out at the traffic along U.S. Highway 287.
More than 1 million people pass the casino each year. Many are travelers heading to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, he said.
Those people are potential customers for the casino, which is planning a $38 million expansion.
The casino’s owner, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, plans to expand the space from its current approximately 15,000 square feet to 165,000 square feet, according to a request for general contractor proposals the tribe published in a local newspaper.
The expansion will include a 60,000-square-foot, 100-room hotel. Currently there is no place for gamblers to lodge on site.
Also new to the casino will be a 30,000-square-foot indoor water park.
There will also be a 750-seat convention and events center that will be about 15,000 square feet. Existing convention space is always booked, said Sniffin, who is a copresident and founder of LEADER Corp., the Lander-area economic development organization. Tribal leaders briefed Sniffin and others involved in LEADER about the project last month.
Casino management referred questions to tribal leadership. Members of the Fort Washakie-based Eastern Shoshone Business Council declined to answer questions or did not return phone calls from the Star-Tribune.
There will be three restaurants: a coffee shop, a buffet and an upscale steak house.
The casino currently has a restaurant called Deka-Guy Hee, which is Shoshone for “The Eating House. ” It is the only part of the casino with windows, which reveal the Wind River Mountains.
There also will be a lounge and bar area, although currently, the casino doesn’t allow alcohol. Sniffin said the tribe will have to give permission for sale of alcohol.
The remaining part of the expansion will be a larger casino floor, with room for 700 slots and various table games, and a bus drop-off and pick-up area.
If completed, the expansion could result in 300 more jobs, Sniffin said.
“At $38 million, that may be one of the bigger construction projects in Fremont County that is not a mine or oil facility,” Sniffin said.
The casino site, north of Lander, is 21 acres. The expansion will be east of the present building.
The Shoshone Rose is the only casino owned by the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. The Eastern Shoshone share the Wind River Reservation with the Northern Arapaho Tribe, which owns the 789 Casino, the Wind River Casino and the Little Wind Casino.