CasinOmaha: Third Time's a Charm? - Siouxland News - KMEG 14 and FOX 44

CasinOmaha: Third Time's a Charm?


(ONAWA, IA) The flood of 2011 devastated businesses and homes, and if you take a drive south on I-29, you'll eventually see signs for CasinOmaha. It was remodeled in 2009 and re-opened the next year.

Then, the following summer, flood waters washed away just about everything.

"All that was left after the flood was the building itself, and although Casino Omaha has seen better days, the future looks bright," says Bill Walsh, CEO of Blackbird Bend Casino.
Out with the old, and in with the new.
"We've taken the old casino floor and gutted it totally, and built this temporary casino right here where the restaurant used to be," he says.

Back in October of 2010, this casino was brand new, loaded with the latest slot machines and table games.
"We hustled and bustled, we looked like a bunch of bees, just going all over the place trying to get it opened, and then we had to close," he says.
With the casino under water, more than 130 people lost their jobs.
"The tribe is very nice people, they put their people to work, they take care of their people and then something like that happened," says Walsh. "Of course through no fault of our own. We didn't do anything wrong and all of a sudden we're out of business."
But not forever. Walsh has been in the casino business for 50 years, and is determined to make things right. So come January 12, 2013, Blackbird Bend Casino will replace CasinOmaha as a temporary fix.
"Were going to have 200 of the latest greatest machines, were going to put 64 people to work. It's going to lift the economy a little bit. I'm getting phone calls every single day, Bill, when are you going to open? People are excited," says Walsh.

The following year, Walsh plans on opening another building attached to the existing casino almost doubling the jobs, and adding new slot machines, and dining.

Walsh says his relationship with the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is a good one.

"We made a deal coming in, I wont tell you how to build it, and you wont tell me how to run it," he jokes. "We've gotten along extremely well."

Walsh says the new jobs will be offered to the employees who lost their jobs right before the flood, But after that they will be open to the public. Applications must be submitted in person.


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