In Michigan, the Gun Lake Tribe has seen revenue from its Gun Lake Casino grow by nearly 25 percent. The federally recognized tribe attributed the swell to the $76 million expansion of its Wayland casino that broke ground in January 2016 and opened on May 3, 2017.
According to the June press release, the tribe’s dispersal of spring revenue payments, which are calculated from revenue from electronic gaming reported from October 1, of last year to March 31, 2018, saw $4,268,003 go to the State of Michigan, with the local revenue board receiving $2,134,001 and $1,280,401 going to Gun Lake Investments (GLIMI), the tribe’s economic development corporation. GLIMI was reportedly created by the tribe to pursue job creation and non-gaming economic development.
The tribe’s semiannual payment, which is the result of the tribal-state gaming compact, is approximately $1.1 million more than its shared revenue from the same time last year. The tribe’s revenue sharing payments with the state are dependent upon the exclusivity of gaming rights within its competitive market, which includes the Michigan cities of Lansing, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, along with several entire counties.
Tribal Chairman, Scott Sprague, said, “We are proud to continue offering great benefits to the local community in the form of jobs and revenue sharing payments. These economic impacts are growing through employee wages, vendor spending and state and local revenue sharing payments.”
The major expansion nearly doubled the size of the facility and included the addition of 73,000 square feet of gaming, a new VIP gaming room and an extra 600 slot machines. The benefits of which were immediately felt by the surrounding community, as dozens of new construction jobs were created and more than 100 new permanent employment opportunities.
In the seven years that the Gun Lake Casino has been opened, the tribe has shared upwards of $75 million with the state. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) receives the payments from the state and awards businesses grants to create jobs and invest in Michigan. One example is the plan for an Amazon warehouse to be built near Grand Rapids, for which MEDC reportedly offered the Seattle-based electronic commerce and cloud computing company $4 million to do so.
Gun Lake Casino features approximately 159,000 square feet of gaming, with over 2,000 slot and video poker machines, 47 live tables, along with several dining establishments and live entertainment.