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Gaming Guru

 

Another Big Year Ahead for Michigan Gaming

5 January 2000

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is behind us, and fears of the Millenium Bug have been laid to rest, I find myself looking forward to what the New Year holds for Michigan's gaming industry.

Of course, this will be a big year for the three private casinos in Detroit. Within a few short months, the final casino license will be granted to Greektown Casino, L.L.C., and the Detroit/Windsor market will be home to three thriving facilities. The gaming industry will be able to finally let out the last of the breath it has been holding and see that the market can easily support four casinos, despite competition from numerous other entertainment options in the immediate area. The City of Detroit will also feel the tremendous impact in 2000, as it experiences the first full year of two casinos providing enormous tax revenues, to be joined shortly by Greektown. The City will also feel more strongly the impact of economic benefits the casinos have provided to residents and businesses throughout the City, who will in turn have more to plug into the local economy. Through this increased economic base from the casinos as well as companies like Compuware coming into the City, Detroit will gain strength and momentum on the road to recovering its former glory.

The year 2000 will be momentous for casinos all over the State of Michigan, not just in the City of Detroit. The two remaining Indian tribes covered under the 1998 gaming compacts will most likely begin (and possibly even finish) construction on their casino facilities. Several tribes, including the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, which just opened its casino in 1999, have announced grand plans for expansion in order to meet the increasing demands by Michigan's residents and the state's many tourists. Rather than "stealing" business from one another, the casinos are working to make Michigan a top-notch gaming destination, offering a wide range of unique options for players and visitors.

Michigan's horse racing industry also merits watching this year. Under the very capable leadership of new Racing Commission Annette Bacola and her staff, and with the well-established tracks around the State of Michigan, this industry will be able to hold its own. Expect to see some new marketing efforts from this industry, as they emphasize the one-of-a-kind experience offered by horse racing. More than ever, though, the owners, breeders, track owners and countless other individuals involved in this industry face a challenge in the Year 2000 - to band together. The challenges to the racing industry are very real, and the commitment to seeing it flourish must be shared by all.

Michigan's lottery, too, faces serious challenges this year. Again, the excellent leadership of its commissioner, Don Gilmer, will be a great asset. The lottery also enjoys a unique niche, as a form of "convenience gaming." Viewed as one of the best in the country, Michigan's lottery will succeed if it continues to meet and anticipate the demands of its customers.

The face of gaming in Michigan has changed forever. I believe now, as I always have, that these many gaming and entertainment options can easily co-exist, with a combined positive effect for all. No matter what the future holds, one thing is sure: Michigan's residents will surely be the winners in this game.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com