A new report by the Legislative Reference Bureau found that the state’s liability to the proposed casino project in Kenosha was significantly reduced in comparison with previous discussions that took place in 2015. According to the report, which was released by state Senators Bob Wirch and Van Wanggaard, the 2018 gaming compact amendment that was approved by the then-Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, was responsible for the reduced liability of the state.
In a lawsuit that dates back to 2015, the Forest County Potawatomi Community had alleged that the state would have to refund the Native American nation approximately $234 million in case a Kenosha casino project was approved for the former Dairyland Greyhound Park. The in-depth analysis of the two Wisconsin Senators claims that the state would not owe such a refund to the tribe due to the 2018 gaming compact amendment because the latter was found to reduce the state’s liability in case a casino starts operation within 30 to 50 miles of Milwaukee-based Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.
A press release of the Kenosha delegation said that the Potawatomi was unable to legally kept annual state payments back until it proves that the operation of a casino in close proximity resulted in its actual losses. The tribe was given the chance to put disputed payments into an escrow account until a final, legal ruling is reached.
Four Casino Venue Projects Supposed to Be Hosted in Close Proximity Beyond 50-Mile Radius
Wisconsin Senators Bob Wirch and Van Wanggaard, both of whom represent cities situated in close proximity to the proposed project, noted that there are currently four other proposed casino projects that are supposed to be located within a close geographic area beyond the 50-mile radius. They include potential casino projects in Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan, and Beloit. There is already a Hammond-based casino, too.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, the Rockford casino broke ground on its project in September, while the Waukegan one is set to start operation in 2025. The Ho-Chunk Beloit casino was granted federal approvals in May this year, while the discussions regarding the proposed Chicago casino and entertainment complex worth about $1.7 billion are still ongoing.
According to Senators Wanggaard and Wirch, the new casinos in the states of Illinois and Indiana, as well as the project that has been planned for Beloit, will change the entire gambling market in the state of Wisconsin by making it more competitive, which would make it almost impossible to prove which, if any, casino affected the Potawatori’s Milwaukee traffic.
Back in July 2022, a partnership to relaunch efforts for the establishment of a Kenosha-based casino and entertainment venue was inked between Hard Rock International and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. The previously-proposed casino complex project was estimated at a total of $800 million but then-Governor Walker turned it down in January 2015.
The newly-proposed project involves a site that is about 60 acres smaller than the previous one. It still needs the state Governor’s approval because the land is situated outside a tribe’s reservation land.
Ron Corn, chairman of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin noted that the aforementioned report finds more reasons to support the proposed casino project in Kenosha that is to be carried out in collaboration with Hard Rock International. According to him, if approved, the Kenosha casino and entertainment complex will help attract more visitors to the city, which means they would spend more money locally. Mr. Corn further noted that the project would also help create more jobs in the area.