PRIOR LAKE, Minn. - If you are looking to sip on some suds while playing some slots at Mystic Lake Casino, look no further.
In a significant policy change, the casino is now allowing alcohol to be served in its hotel with the casino following in the coming months.
Alcohol was officially served Wednesday night.
"It's a big day," said Ed Stevenson, the President and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewekanton Sioux Community.
The SMSC Gaming Enterprise runs the Mystic Lake Casino complex.
"This has been the most frequently requested amenity among our guests," said Stevenson of alcohol service.
Concerned about the societal implications, Stanley Crooks, the longtime tribal chairman of the Shakopee Mdewekanton Sioux Community was against serving alcohol, but Crooks died in August.
Stevenson says Crooks softened to the idea in his remaining days.
"Chairmen Stan Crooks was involved this process and was supportive of this and sadly with his passing in August, he's not part of this," he said.
Steve Sherf is with Hospitality Consulting Group. He's consulted on more than a 100 casino projects in the country and says the move makes financial sense, especially since it can be a challenge for casinos to differentiate themselves from each other.
"And that's why there's so much attention spent to the sounds of the machines and the colors and the lighting," said Sherf.
For now, alcohol will be served at the Mystic Steakhouse in the hotel but will eventually make its way throughout the entire casino, including the Mystic Showroom over the next few months to a year.
"Eventually we'll move to floor service in the future but we want to go slow," said Stevenson.
He said they're working with area police to make sure the change is done properly and safely.
The addition of alcohol sales could prompt other changes in the future.
"If it's successfully, we will have opportunities to expand our convention space. If we have good convention business we need more hotels rooms. It could snow ball," he said.
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