North Dakota Tribal Group Deciding How to Use Land Near Allegiant Stadium

| June 9, 2021 10:22 am PDT

North Dakota’s Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation — collectively known as the Three Affiliated Tribes — is still wondering what to do with the 8.68 acres they purchased last July at a bankruptcy sale for $12 million.

The property is right across the Strip from Mandalay Bay Resort-Casino, and it’s about a mile from the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium.

The site was once home to the perpetually unfinished SkyVue Ferris wheel. The property has otherwise remained unused, except for a brief 10-day period when it served as a shooting location for the reality show American Ninja Warrior.

The Three Affiliated Tribes currently own and operate the Four Bears and Lodge near their Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in central North Dakota.

The reservation is responsible for about a fifth of North Dakota’s oil production and generates revenue from taxes on that oil — taxes that have over the years built for the tribe an estimated $1.7 billion bankroll.

And the $12 million they laid down a year ago for the property barely put a dent in that bankroll.

Will They Build a Casino?

If the Three Affiliated Tribes chose to build a casino resort on the property, they would be the first Native American band to build a Las Vegas casino, but they would not be the first to operate one.

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut operates the Mohegan Sun inside Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. And the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians recently purchased the Palms Las Vegas.

But after a year of considering their options, the Three Affiliated Tribes remain uncertain of the site’s future.

While they can certainly afford to build a casino resort that rivals anything in Vegas, they are also looking at converting the site to a paid parking lot.

Maybe not quite as grand or romantic as another resort-casino, but you can always find a casino in Vegas. Can you say the same about parking near Allegiant Stadium?

Mark Fox, Chairman for the Three Affiliated Tribes, admits his tribe is still thinking about what might be best for the property. He spoke to he the Brainerd Dispatch about future plans.

“We’re still in that phase of trying to develop a concept of development for the acreage.”

And while he noncommittally called adding another tribally-owned casino to Las Vegas “a possibility,” Fox noted there were other uses for the property just as intriguing.

For instance, one idea he said was under consideration was to use the property as a site for a pay-for-use parking lot.

Is a Parking Lot a Possibility?

The broker at Colliers International who managed the bankruptcy auction, Mike Mixer, pointed out to reporters that the property has the broadest zoning designation available in Las Vegas, and consequently, the property could be used for a casino, a shopping mall — or yes, a parking lot.

Which makes a certain kind of sense.

You can find a casino wherever you look in Las Vegas. But say you want to attend a game at Allegiant Stadium (which is already notoriously short on parking). Where are you going to park?

The Three Affiliated Tribes may just be on to something.

J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at GamblingSites.com. He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with poker, blackjack, and slots.

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  1. Cheryl June 21, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    I think a casino would bring in more revenue. A casino operates 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. To build a parking lot? Are games seasonal? I don’t think a parking lot would bring in as much money as a parking lot, not even close.

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