BAGLEY, Minn. -The games are on and the slot machine handles are ready to be pulled at Shooting Star Casinos' newest location near Bagley.
The 21,400 square-foot building opens its doors to the public at 10 a.m. Wednesday, offering more than 170 slot machines and a new dining option with an attached bar and grill.
Located along Clearwater County Highway 27, the new casino was built between Bagley and Ebro to attract new gamers.
"We did a feasibility in early 2015, and through that it was found that this area had a great demographic and offered a good opportunity for market penetration," said Bill Marsh, general manager of Shooting Star Casinos. "We believe that there will be a substantial impact on Bagley and the surrounding areas, creating both new employment and bringing new dollars."
According to Marsh, the new casino has created 71 job positions.
Discussions on bringing the new casino to the area began in 2014, and following the feasibility study, ground was broken for construction last November. The building, designed by Cuningham Group of Minneapolis, wasn't constructed with a hotel or event center like its Mahnomen counterpart, but Marsh said future expansion is a possibility.
"We have had a lot of ideas for expanding it, but nothing is set in stone," Marsh said. "It's going to be based off the demand. If the demand is here, and our players ask for it, then we will answer the call."
Shooting Star Casinos' Bagley site was one of two new projects announced last year. In September, the company also stated its intent to construct a third casino near Dent, Minn., on Star Lake.
"Our plan for that facility is to use the same design firm, so a lot of the architecture you see in Bagley will also be in Star Lake on a larger scale," Marsh said, noting construction hadn't started on the third location yet.
Like the Bagley area, the third location will have slot machines, a bar and grill, as well as tables, a buffet, a gift shop, a hotel and an RV park.
"I think it's safe to say there's not a lot of opportunity for tribes to continue to expand gaming," Marsh said. "So White Earth (Nation) is fortunate in their findings from the feasibility study locating new market areas both with Bagley and Dent."
The original Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen first opened in 1991, with gaming located in a temporary facility before a grand opening in 1992.
In 2012, a $30 million, 145,300 square-foot expansion was completed. Currently, the Mahnomen location features a 15,000 square-foot concert venue, a 386 room hotel and a 3,000 square-foot meeting space.
While it doesn't cover the same square footage that the Mahnomen casino does, Marsh said the company will still target the surrounding Bagley area-including the Bemidji market-for its second facility.
The new casino will be open from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and will run 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays.