Michigan’s Gun Lake tribal casino which is owned by the Gun Lake Tribe recently announced that it had paid out $3.97 million to the state government and an additional $1.82 million to the local government. The tribe released a statement on December 7 stating that the payments were based on the revenues generated by slot machines and electronic gaming devices between April 1 and September 30, 2016.
Based on a tribal-state compact signed in 2007, the Gun Lake Tribe is required to pay local governments up to 2 percent of slot machine revenues which is then divided between a 6 member revenue sharing board which then splits that amount and funds the Yankee Springs Township, Martin Township, Leighton Township, Hopkins Township, Dorr Township, the City of Wayland, Wayland Union Schools, Wayland Township, Allegan County and the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency.
The gaming compact also requires the tribe to pay the state between 8 to 12 percent of revenues generated as the Gun Lake casino received a gaming monopoly spread across nine counties which included Lansing, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. However the payment to the state of Michigan was well below the minimum requirement of 8 percent due to the fact that the tribe believes the state violated the gaming compact by allowing the Michigan State Lottery to offer lottery terminals and online ticket sales throughout the state.
The Gun Lake Tribe decided to withhold payments from 2015 and reached a settlement with the state in July 2016 where the disputed $21.7 million will be divided between the tribe, the state and a tribal scholarship fund and an economic development group known as GLMI which was created during the partial settlement. GLMI has been awarded $1.2 million and is currently in the process of developing a $4.4 million convenience and fuel store which is located opposite the Gun Lake casino.
According to MLive, Scott Sprague, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe said “This revenue sharing distribution is the result of government-to-government cooperation for the benefit of all Michiganders. The state revenue sharing payments help to fund economic development projects beyond West Michigan, while the local revenue sharing payments is important for municipal services and public education.”
The Gun Lake casino opened its doors to the public in 2011 and has generated more than $86 million so far in revenue for the state and local governments. The casino also provides employment to over 800 individuals and is in the process of adding another 100 employees as it expands its facilities. The tribe is investing $76 million to nearly double its size and is expected to open its new facilities in the summer of 2017. The new facilities will include the addition of 73,000 square feet of gaming which will include an extra 450 slot machines and a new VIP gaming room.