$65M Casino Resort Expansion Modernizes Bay Mills

Written By J.R. Duren on September 30, 2022
Michigan casino expansion at Bay Mills

Bay Mills will soon be bigger and better.

This week, the Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) announced it will break ground on a $65 million expansion project on their Michigan casino in Spring 2023. BMIC President Whitney Gravelle said the expansion should make Bay Mills the top destination in the area.

“Bay Mills Indian Community has long been a leader in Indian Country,” Gravelle said. “Expanding our enterprise operations will allow us to continue to grow and become the number one destination in the Upper Peninsula. I’m so proud of our team and our tribal nation for this achievement.”

Bids for the project will begin this winter, BMIC noted.

Expansion will create “one-of-a-kind experience”

The announced expansion of Bay Mills breathes new life into the property. Currently, the resort is two stories and the decor and overall design is outdated.

Renderings of the new resort reveal a modern resort that looks nothing like the current property. The new resort will include:

  • Three-story hotel
  • 134 additional rooms with balconies
  • Deli
  • Spa with massage therapy rooms
  • Pool with splash pad
  • Hot tubs
  • Fitness center
  • Storefront
  • New fishing piers
  • Gardens, gazebos, and outdoor patios

The resort’s employee breakroom will get a facelift, too.

“Bay Mills Resort & Casino is well loved by its visitors,” said Bay Mills Resort & Casino General Manager, Richard LeBlanc. “This expansion will allow us to take things one step further to meet the needs of our guests, while also providing them with a one-of-a-kind experience on Lake Superior.”

Gravelle emphasizes benefits of expansion

BMIC’s Facebook posts about the expansion project received, for the most part, positive feedback. However, one Bay Mills employee pushed back a bit, asking how the expansion would benefit the community and if it will lead to higher wages and better benefits for employees.

Gravelle acknowledged the importance of the question, then emphasized how the expansion will improve the community’s quality of life.

The expansion plans include a “detailed employee recruitment and retention plan,” Gravelle said, and leaders have spent several years conducting research, debate, and analysis to fine-tune their plan.

“Bay Mills Resort & Casino has served as the economic engine of the Tribe sacrificing itself to support others, and for the first time in our history Bay Mills Indian Community will actually be able to make this type of investment into our future,” Gravelle said. “Ultimately, that’s what the casino expansion project is about. Our future. Do we want to do more and be more, as you described – provide better wages, more time off, better retirement funds – or do we want to maintain the status quo?”

Upgrades could make Bay Mills the premier resort in the area

There is no word on when the expansion will finish. However, when the project is done, Bay Mills will be the most updated resort-casino property in the region.

Bay Mills’ main competition comes from a pair of Kewadin Casinos properties: Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace.

Even among resorts and hotels, Bay Mills’ new property will be an instant front-runner. None of the lakefront lodging between the Point Iroquois Lighthouse to the north and Sault Ste. Marie to the east will match the amenities Bay Mills will offer.

Additionally, the casino is on track to open a temporary DraftKings sportsbook in October.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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