The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs recently approved the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s application for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Tribal Chairman Craig Corn said he received a call from Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, informing him of the decision. The tribe has attempted for years to open a casino at the 228-acre Dairyland Greyhound Park, which closed in December 2009.
Washburn said in a statement that the Menominee “demonstrated that it had an unmet need for economic development to supplement tribal government services to their members and a historical connection to the Kenosha area.”
Interior spokeswoman Nedra Darling said the department determined that gambling on the site was “in the best interest of the tribe and its members.” She noted the department also ruled that allowing a casino was “not detrimental to the surrounding community.”
The $800 million Kenosha project would create 1,400 construction jobs and 3,300 permanent jobs, and generate $35 million in new state revenue. Kenosha, Kenosha County and area schools would receive more than $19 million in casino payments annually. The property would offer a casino with 3,100 slot machines and 75 game tables, a 5,000-seat multi-purpose entertainment venue, retail, restaurants, a hotel and parking.
Governor Scott Walker announced he will meet with the leaders of the state’s Indian tribes to help them try to reach a consensus on the Menominees’ casino plan.
But it won’t be easy. Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer said Kenosha is part of his tribe’s traditional homeland.