CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles

Gaming Guru

 

What's Happening with Tribal Gaming?

12 January 2000

With all the excitement surrounding the Detroit casinos, Michigan's tribal casinos have slipped somewhat out of the spotlight. However, tribal gaming is an important part of the gaming industry in Michigan. A study released in 1999 placed Michigan fourth in the nation for revenue generated by Indian casinos. That same study showed an increased employment of over 14,000 for casino and ancillary jobs relating to Michigan's tribal casinos. The past few months have been full of exciting events in the tribal gaming industry, and the next few months promise to bring even more changes.

At the very end of 1998, the Michigan legislature approved Class III (casino-style) gaming compacts with four Indian tribes, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. These four tribes have lost no time over the past year in acting on their compacts, despite the fact that a legal challenge to the validity of the compacts is currently pending in the Ingham County Circuit Court.. The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians opened its temporary facility in Manistee in July. The casino has been so successful that the tribe has already announced plans to expand their current facility by 30 percent, and to build a $50 million casino resort, which will be finished in 2001. The Pokagon Band and the Notawaseppi Huron Band have both announced the proposed sites for their casinos, and are currently in negotiation with local governmental entities and seeking the necessary federal approval.

Probably the most tumultuous year has been had by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. This band renovated a former bowling alley in Petoskey, and operated Victories Entertainment Center for a short time in July. The casino was shut down in July by a federal judge, because the land on which the casino sits has not been placed in trust by the federal government. After successfully facing a challenge by another Michigan tribe to the land acquisition, the Little Traverse Bay Bands await federal approval and hope to reopen the casino in the very near future.

The four tribes addressed in the 1998 compacts are not the only ones to have had an interesting and eventful year. The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians has announced plans to double the size of its Turtle Creek Casino in Williamsburg by adding 38,000 more square feet, additional slots and table games, a food court and more. However, the legality of the Turtle Creek facility is currently being challenged in federal court, and the United States attorney is seeking to have the expansion plans put on hold until the case is resolved. The Bay Mills Indian Community has expressed an interest in pursuing other casinos, one in Corwith Township (near Gaylord) and another, possibly in the Pontiac Silverdome, soon to be vacated by the Detroit Lions.

The tribal gaming industry in Michigan is booming. That in itself is a remarkable fact, considering that two incredible temporary casino facilities are open in the City of Detroit, with one more on the near horizon. The key to success in Michigan gaming, for the casinos, the lottery and the horse racing industry, is catering to the unique market. As gaming becomes an increasingly popular form of entertainment in the State and around the world, there are tremendous opportunities for well-run casinos that meets the demands of their customers. The key, as always, will be a high level of service. Those that can meet top level standards will thrive. Those that fall short, will no doubt struggle.

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