Walker to decide fate of Kenosha casino plan

Last updated on October 26th, 2021 at 03:17 am

Now that the federal government has approved the Menominee Indian Tribe’s plans to build an off-reservation casino on a 228-acre parcel at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, the final say in the matter is up to Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker says there will be a 60-day comment gathering period, which will conclude in late October, about the Kenosha casino. Walker says he will only approve the project if it meets three criteria: “no new net gaming, community support, and consensus among the 11 sovereign nations (in Wisconsin).”

It would be difficult to open a new casino and achieve “no net new gaming” in the state. The Menominee might have to close its small casino in Keshena to help meet that requirement. There is also the https://www.slotsformoney.com/casinos/us/california/ site where one can go to gamble as this site is reliable.

“We have not made any decision on that issue,” said Evan Zeppos, spokesman for the tribe. “We will look at all options.”

As far as reaching consensus of the state’s sovereign nations, two tribes are expressing opposition to the plans for the Kenosha casino.

For years, the Forest County Potawatomi Community has expressed strong opposition to the Kenosha casino, which would compete with their casino in Milwaukee, the only casino in southeastern Wisconsin. The Menominee tribe offered the Potawatomi to be a partner in the Kenosha casino, but the Potawatomi dismissed the overture.

“It’s clear that the Menominee were not serious about their offer, and this was merely a gimmick to garner media attention,” said Forest County Potawatomi attorney general Jeff Crawford.

“It is a sincere offer,” Zeppos said. “We remain willing and open to work with them.”
Meanwhile, Ho-Chunk spokesman Collin Price said there is “no chance” his tribe will support a casino in an area he called “ancestral Ho-Chunk land.” However, in a summary of the federal review of the project, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said the Menominee “submitted evidence demonstrating a historic connection to the Kenosha area,” though it was not required to do so.

The Ho-Chunk tribe has six gaming facilities in the state and wants to build a casino in Beloit. If it gets federal approval for a casino in Beloit, the Ho-Chunk will need approval from Walker and therefore could need support from the Menominee.

The Menominee and its supporters are touting the Kenosha casino project as a major economic development opportunity for the state. The facility would create 3,300 new jobs and the construction of the facility would create 1,400 construction jobs, according to the tribe. The casino would provide $35 million in new revenue to the state, the tribe says.

The $808 million facility would have a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor with 3,100 slot machines and 75 table games, 50,000 square feet of retail space, several restaurants, a 400-room upscale hotel, a 5,000-seat multipurpose entertainment facility and parking for 8,500 vehicles. The tribe has not decided if it would reopen the dog track, Zeppos said.

Supporters of the project are urging Walker to approve it so the state can reap the economic benefits, especially by attracting gamblers from Illinois.

Building Advantage, an association of union contractors and labor unions in southeastern Wisconsin, has endorsed the Kenosha casino project.

“Wisconsin’s economy and the construction industry will benefit greatly from this project,” said Building Advantage executive director Ken Kraemer.

The Potawatomi say the Wisconsin casino market is already “saturated” and that the addition of a casino in Kenosha would result in the loss of 3,000 direct casino jobs and indirect jobs in Milwaukee. But Washburn’s summary said, “The evidence in the record did not demonstrate that the Menominee Indian Tribe’s proposed gaming facility would have a detrimental impact on the Forest County Potawatomi Community, beyond a modest short-term economic effect from competing with its existing gaming facility.”

The Menominee say the Potawatomi are just trying to protect their gaming monopoly in southeastern Wisconsin.

“Let’s compete and not complain,” Zeppos said.

 

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