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Four Winds Casino first new Michigan casino to open since 2000

31 January 2007

In August 2007, the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan, is slated to open its doors to the public. It will be the first casino to open in the state since Greektown Casino in November of 2000. The casino, being developed by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and managed by Lakes Entertainment, Inc., will consist of 100 gaming tables, and 3,000 slot machines.

The Pokagon Band received its Federal Recognition in 1994 from President Bill Clinton. Following this approval, the Band entered negotiations with the state of Michigan concerning a Tribal State Gaming Compact in order for it to operate Class III gaming devices (aka slot machines). In 1998, the Band and the state came to an agreement on the terms of the gaming compact. The compact gave the Band the rights to operate Class III gaming devices on its tribal lands, in exchange for a percentage of its net win. The process of having its land taken into trust took several years and was hampered by legal challenges.

Minneapolis based Lakes Entertainment, Inc., has a contract to manage the Four Winds Casino. Lakes Entertainment has similar management arrangements with six different tribes located in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and California. Lakes Entertainment has also stated that it has plans to open and operate a commercial casino operation in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The company is also well known for is ownership in WPT Enterprises, which produces the World Poker Tour television series.

Four Winds Casino will also be the first casino to open in southwest Michigan. Currently, the southwest market has been serviced by casinos located in Indiana and Illinois. The upcoming opening of the Four Winds Casino has resulted in the initiation and announcement of capital improvement projects at several of these existing facilities. Consequently, 2007 and 2008 will be an interesting time for the market and the customers, and construction providers are all slated to benefit.

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