Montana: Polson City Commission approves land annexation for new casino development

The Polson City Commission has given the green light to the annexation of 79 acres of Tribal land on the western fringes of Polson along U.S. Highway 93 for a new casino. S&K Gaming, in collaboration with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), is set to develop a 25,000-square-foot gaming facility, expected to break ground in the spring of 2024.

This decision follows a period of thorough assessment and study, with approval momentarily deferred for over a year. CSKT took the approach of commissioning a traffic report and an analysis of the environmental impact before moving forward with their proposal.

Emphasizing the significance of this development, S&K Gaming’s Interim CEO, Dan Hansen, noted the casino’s adherence to contemporary specifications. He highlighted that the new establishment is designed to alleviate common issues associated with such properties, such as smoke-related concerns.

Hansen explained: “Casinos really take a very special and specific type of build, and what we like about it is that we will now be able to have the casino be a casino and the resort focus on resort and family-friendly things that can bring other events and stuff into the community.”

Polson, Montana

A key aspect of this venture involves the relocation of more than 300 gaming machines from the KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino located in downtown Polson to the new site. This move aims to allow the resort to focus on family-friendly offerings, while moving gaming to the outskirts of town permits the company “to focus on the casino as a business.”

The Polson City Commission’s decision was reached through a near-unanimous vote, with the annexation gaining overwhelming support from the members and a 6-1 approval. The 79-acre parcel of land, situated north of the Polson Bridge on Highway 93 and Irvine Flats Road, was secured by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Speaking on the broader implications of the development, CSKT’s land use planning director, Janet Camel, underscored the comprehensive nature of the new project. She highlighted the multifaceted nature of the multi-phased plan, encompassing potential additions such as a hotel, low-cost residential areas, an RV park, and a visitor’s center for Polson and the Flathead Reservation.