The Ho-Chunk Nation operates several venues in the state of Wisconsin, including a casino gaming property in Madison. The tribe is currently preparing to apply for a liquor license to be able to serve alcohol at the Madison venue and if approved, would become the largest ongoing entertainment venue in the area to have a fully operating license when it comes to liquor.
The Ho-Chunk Madison Casino can hold 2,000 guests and was voluntarily made a smoke-free facility by the tribe, who would now like to offer alcohol as an additional amenity for their guests. Daniel Brown is the General Manager for Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison who stated yesterday that almost all of the gaming facilities in the state, tribal operated, provide liquor service. Adding liquor to the Madison property would upgrade the experience for players, according to Brown.
The decision to apply for the liquor license comes at the same time that the tribe and city discuss working together to create a hotel, major sports complex and tribal cultural center. These facilities would be placed on land that the Ho-Chunk as well as city owns, located near the gambling facility.
Officials of the casino met with city officials as well as Madison Mayor Paul Soglin to discuss the potential liquor license on Monday. According to Madison’s Food and Alcohol Policy Coordinator, Mark Woulf, the mayor is not exactly liking the idea of the casino offering alcohol, with concern regarding mixing alcohol with gambling. However, at this point, the mayor would not be standing in the way of the tribe obtaining a liquor license.
As of this point, the tribe intends to apply for a liquor license in the near future and would have a bar centrally located inside the casino. Servers would take orders from customers in the gambling area, roughly 30,000 square feet of space. The bar would serve drinks to customers as the enjoy gaming and also offer a few seats, but not enough to create the bar as an attraction within itself.