Last month the Ho-Chunk nation announced plans to break ground on a new casino just north of Wittenberg, Wisconsin. The site is located off Highway 29 just north of Wittenberg and 22 miles south of Antigo. Currently, the tribe is operating a convenience store on the site but had cleared the land several years ago with the idea of building a casino in the future. This particular Ho-Chunk nation casino will be a small casino with about 600 gaming machines, a lounge and a restaurant. Specific plans for the 20 million dollar project include a 34,000 square foot building with 12,000 square feet dedicated to gambling. Contracting is already underway and it will be just a matter of weeks before things start to happen on the site.

Tribal spokeswoman, Anne Thundercloud, has said that this casino will bring over 12 million dollars to the area in the first year alone as well as adding approximately 125 new jobs. These added jobs will benefit Shawano, Marathon and Langlade counties. Thundercloud also mentioned the impact visitors to the casino would have on other businesses in the area.

Wittenberg Village President, Paul Yaeger, is excited about the opportunities for his community. Mr. Yaeger considers this to be another part of the expansion of Wittenberg village. (A new industrial park is also contributing to the village’s expansion.) Wittenberg will have to extend the sewer and water capabilities to reach the casino site and despite this Yaeger is looking forward to growing the village borders.

The Ho-Chunk nation may be taking a bit of a gamble as they prepare to break ground on the casino site. This new ancillary casino will be located only 15 miles from the much larger Stockbridge-Munsee’s Mohican North Star Casino in Bowler.

However, this is not the first casino the Ho-Chunk Nation has operated. They also have gaming and casino facilities near Madison, Wisconsin Rapids, Black River Falls and Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells-Baraboo is the most well known and offers a full-service casino. The Ho-Chunk Luxury Hotel and Casino in Wisconsin Dells offers 24 hour slot machines, blackjack, bingo and other games 365 days a year. Each of the 315 rooms or suites is decorated with a rustic beauty inspired by the local area. The deluxe accommodations are perfect for romantic honeymoons, family vacations or even business conferences. The Baraboo casino features a ballroom perfect for a wedding reception, an extensive convention center, 5 fabulous restaurants that range from fine dining to family dining, a pool and entertainment from popular performers.

The Ho-Chunk nation will wait patiently for warmer weather so construction can begin on the new Wittenberg casino. In the meantime, leadership of the Ho-Chunk nation and the village of Wittenberg will continue to work together to plan this new enterprise. A tribal legislator, Lawrence Walker, Jr., is pleased the Ho-Chunk has found a way to help the tribe as well as bring more business into the immediate Wittenberg area. Construction on the 20 million dollar project should be complete by October of 2008.