The Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation Tribe and Economic Development Committee of DeKalb County, Illinois have decided to go forward with a 24-hour bingo hall. The plan incorporates electronic bingo, which would make it the first such Native American managed gambling facility in the state. The announcement was made Tuesday August 4, 2015 when the Economic Development Committee voted to forward a resolution to the full county board regarding 129 acres of land the tribe owns in Shabbona. The land on which to build the casino is to be held in trust by the U.S. Department of the Interior. A vote by the board is expected on August 19, 2015 on whether to show support for the committee’s action.
Seven years ago the tribe put the electronic bingo hall plan on hold. Now, with the new vote the county and tribe are pushing forward to get approval for the casino. It would not have to have a license from the state, but would be regulated by the federal National Indian Gaming Commission.
The tribe’s chairwoman, Liana Onnen said the “land trust was not a requirement,” but it would help mitigate legal issues that could arise later. The tribe wants all legal aspects to be covered.
Onnen also pointed out that her tribe has been paying the county money since 2007, in lieu of taxes, which the nationally recognized tribe does not have to pay for land. The electronic bingo hall would provide jobs and increase tourism to the area. Onnen believes this will help the city, particularly with the $17 million in payroll to about 400 employees. The tribe expects tourism would increase by 930,000 visitors per year, with about $12 million in goods purchased that would help the local economy.
The casino would be in Shabbona, which currently has 1,000 residents. It is also a location known for its state park.