On besting North Battleford’s Gold Eagle Casino

Say, for example, you’re visiting relatives in Saskatchewan that happen to live along the Yellowhead, and on the trip back you realize you’ll not make the distance. If that happens while you’re passing North Battleford, well then, look for the Gold Eagle Lodge.

Say, as well, that you’re of the mind to enter something like a smoke-laden gambling quonset–and walk through fields of flashing and bleeping electronic slot machines, without pause…except for perhaps an AK Amber. If so, the rest is rudimentary.

Upon checking into the Gold Eagle, ask for the complimentary "Play and stay" coupon–referencing the casino. When properly redeemed, it’s worth 10 bucks. But before rushing off and staking your claim, perhaps you’ll want to settle in–however that works for you. Then, for example, after watching the first part of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, just before it gets into the freaky foreshadowing of Allen’s own life, head to the casino.


From the lodge, it’s a short walk across a Saskatchewan parking lot. Which means it’s wider and broader than most lots on earth. So yes, it’s a longish walk–especially I suppose, if your flesh is flaccid from Naugahyde chairs and your chest sunken from deflecting strobe rays.

Watch for the front doors…not hard to find. Enter. Show your coupon. A lady in a blue Player Card tee-shirt will exchange this for a voucher which you will take to the cashier. But not before she asks you to sign up for, yup, the "Players Card."

Fill out the form, watching what you check off. There are options for receiving Casino "specials," in the mail etc. Note: curiously you can use a "preferred name," affording you some anonymity. (Having seldom come up with something clever on the spur of the moment I didn’t disappoint myself and used my own name.)

The payoff? Signing up gets you another 10 bucks plus a 5 dollar coupon for a meal in the adjoining Kiwiw restaurant. So altogether you’ve got 25 big ones just for checking into the Lodge…something you had to do anyway–right? Plus the hotel is clean, spacious, and relatively cheap.

So if you’re hungry, your "winnings" get you an 8 out of 10 meal with enough leftover coin to drop into the concession machine down the hall. (It’s been so long since I had Hickory Sticks.) Otherwise, if you don’t need the grits, you just got 20 bucks without breaking a sweat, unless you have a cigarette-smoke allergy. And it’s all legal. But remember, it’s bad form to take your loot and spend it at Tim Hortons.

Now, for the global citizen, the odds of cruising the flatter reaches of the mighty Yellowhead are daunting, but should you be this fortunate, the Gold Eagle is something to watch for.


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