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Business & Economics

A Year After Federal Approval, Kenosha Casino Plan Still In Limbo

It’s been a year since the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs gave the green light to the Menominee tribe’s proposal for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

But Governor Scott Walker has yet to weigh in on the plan, which needs state approval to move forward.  Walker has said he wants all of the state’s eleven tribes to support the project before he says yes.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community has staunchly opposed the plan.  That tribe already has a casino in the Milwaukee area.  Spokesperson George Ermert says the gaming market is saturated, and will draw dollars out of state. 

“The Potawatomi remain confident that Governor Walker is going to find that ultimately it’s not in the best interest of the state to approve a project that sends hundreds of millions of dollars down to Florida.”

The casino would be financed and managed by Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole tribe of Florida. 

Chairman of the Menominee-Kenosha gaming authority Gary Besaw  says the Hard Rock brand will draw more people.  And he says profits will still mainly benefit local communities…around Kenosha and where it’s badly needed on the reservation. 

“The primary beneficiary of the revenue are the Menominee people. So we see the boon economically and in jobs also in Northeast Wisconsin. So this is a win-win all the way around.”

The Menominee tribe says it’s hopeful about Walker’s decision…which is set to come in February.  

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