Gun Lake Casino reaches final phase of $300 million Expansion Project

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Gun Lake Casino is one of Michigan's top tribal casinos.


  • Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan marked the start of the final phase of its major expansion program with a ‘topping off’ ceremony, the placement of the final beam at the top of the tower.
  • Construction should be completed by next spring, and includes a 15-floor hotel, full-service spa and covered atrium with special pools.
  • Gun Lake Casino is one of Michigan’s tribal casinos owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Construction workers fashioned an evergreen tree on the final steel beam to symbolize prosperity and good luck at the ‘topping out’ ceremony last month as Gun Lake Casino nears the end of its four-year, $300 million expansion and renovation project. The beam was also signed by Gun Lake Casino workers and administrators.

The expansion project is slated to be finished by next spring and developers boast that it will have an economic impact of $650 million in Southwest Michigan, and create an additional 350 jobs. The original project was announced in April 2021.

“A lot of work still has to be completed,” said Gun Lake CEO Sal Semola to ABC13 News. “But we’re going to start putting furniture in some of the hotel floors probably in late June, early July. We’re at a point now where things start moving rather quickly.”

Clark Construction is handling the work. Gun Lake Casino is one of 23 tribal casinos operating in Michigan. A topping out ceremony, or ‘topping off’ means that the highest beam is now in place, allowing construction to continue on the full interior.

What’s Coming At Gun Lake

The new expansion includes a 15-story, 252-room hotel, a full-service spa, meeting spaces, a high limit table games room and additional restaurant options.

The crown jewel of the expansion is the “Aquadome” also known as the Wawye Oasis, a covered glass atrium space with palm trees kept at a constant 80 degrees. There will be two large pools inside, including a 21-plus VIP pool for adults only, and a family pool.  

"There's a misperception in terms of what's happening in the Wawyé Oasis. It's really kind of a multipurpose type of facility," Semola said. “It'll be 80 degrees in the area year-round. There are three pools in there. There's a swim-up bar. We're going to do live concerts there and it will also be a nightclub. And we also do banquets as well. It's just a phenomenal space, and it's really going to be a lot of fun."

How Does Gun Lake Casino Rate?

Gun Lake Casino opened in February of 2011 and is located off Exit 61 on U.S. 131 between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

Tribal casinos are not bound by the same reporting laws of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, but do have to pay two percent of their winnings to local government. Using those figures, you can track how well the casino is doing.

In the 2023 MGCB report, Gun Lake returned $4.3 million to the state of Michigan, ranking them fourth among all Michigan tribal casinos behind:

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe 6.6 million (Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort)

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi 6.3 million (Firekeepers Casino)

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians 4.9 (Four Winds Casino)

Michigan Casinos Rising

With a robust iGaming and sports betting market, Michigan remains one of the top American markets for gambling with customers finding many perks and incentives to enjoy.

Gun Lake offers over 2,300 slot machines, over 50 table games, keno, the 131 sportsbook and lounge and multiple dining options.  Gun Lake Casino is owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.