In Michigan, Gun Lake tribal officials recently announced donations totaling $20,000 to three charities. The money reportedly comes from a special fund consisting of winnings that have either been dropped on the tribe’s Gun Lake Casino floor or left behind somehow.
Spokesman for the tribe, James Nye, said, “Basically, it’s money that’s displaced in some way that remains at the casino and is not technically, the property of another patron, guest or the casino itself,” according to MLive.
The $20,000 donation was split three ways, with the National Indian Child Welfare Association receiving a $10,000 donation and the Native American Rights Fund and the Allegan-based Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center each receiving a $5,000 donation.
In a statement, senior director of governmental affairs for the tribe, John Shagonaby, said “The tribe is proud to support the protection of tribal sovereignty and keeping our families together across Indian country. It is especially meaningful for us to make these donations during the holiday season.”
Shagonaby explained that groups such as Safe Harbor are a blessing to the Gun Lake community so the tribe is happy to assist them with the donation.
Thanking the Tribe for the donation, in a statement, Lori Antkoviak, Executive Director for Safe Harbor said, “As a non-profit organization we depend on donations to carry out our mission of protecting children and educating the public about the community-wide impacts of child abuse,” as reported by MLive.
Last month saw the tribe share $8.2 million in gaming revenues with local and state governments. The payment represents a staggering 24 percent increase from the Gun Lake Tribe’s spring payment and a 19 percent hike from its 2016 fall payment. Based on electronic gaming revenues from the tribe’s Gun Lake Casino, the fall payment, which is calculated from April 1 to September 30, brings the total amount shared since 2011 to $101.6 million.
In October this year, the tribe announced the appointment of Salvatore Semola as the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Wayland casino. Semola has 40-plus years of experience in the hospitality and gaming industry, which includes a management stint at the soon to be JACK Detroit Casino-Hotel in Detroit.
The COO appointment precedes the end of a seven-year pact between the tribe and MPM Enterprises LLC to manage the eight-year-old casino, which comes to an end in February 2018. MPM, whose parent organization is Station Casinos, Inc. and a group of Mount Pleasant-based investors, comprise the joint venture that is MPM Enterprises.
After the recent $76 million expansion, currently, the Gun Lake Casino, which is owned and operated by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians or Gun Lake Tribe, offers more than 2,000 slot machines and a total of 47 blackjack, poker, craps and roulette gaming tables.