In 2015, the state of Michigan and area municipalities received $21.9 million in revenue-sharing payments from the FireKeepers Casino Hotel.
That’s a 7.8 percent increase for the year totaling $16.6 million for the state’s share of revenues from FireKeepers. From 2014, public institutions and area municipalities’ share rose to $5.3 million, an increase of 5.3 percent, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive.
The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians is the facility’s owner and operator, and since the gaming facility opened in August of 2009, its contributions to Michigan and surrounding municipalities total $122 million. That breaks down to $32.2 million going to locals and $90 million to the state, according to an announcement on Tuesday by the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB).
According to the compact between the tribe and the State of Michigan, payments equal to 2 percent of the facility’s annual net winnings from slot machine revenue are paid to the FLRSB, which determines how those payments are distributed to local governments. A portion of the payments are used to reimburse governments ‘losing’ tax revenue because the Athens-based tribe’s Pine Creek Reservation and casino are not taxable.
The tribe’s seventh revenue sharing installment of $21.9 million was the single largest contribution, as noted by Homer Mandoka, tribal council chairman. Mandoka also said through December 30, 2015, the contribution to the state’s economy by FireKeepers has included cumulative paid labor costs totaling approximately $300 million since the facility opened, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. That included wages, incentives to employees, retirement benefits and health insurance to its 1,650 employees. The tribe also boasts $28.5 million in contracts awarded in Michigan in 2015 in keeping with its commitment to local spending. Along with grant winners, nearly 20 organizations have benefited from the casino’s payments.
FireKeepers Casino Hotel is located in Battle Creek, in Emmett Township off I-94, on land held in trust for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band by the federal government. The casino’s 111,700-square-foot gaming floor features 2,900 slot machines, 70 table games, a poker room and a bingo room. FireKeeper’s recently expanded 243-room 8-story resort-style hotel features a multi-purpose event center with seating for up to 2,000 people, business center, six dining areas, including a full-service restaurant, exercise facility, indoor pool and multiple lounges and entertainment venues. Nearly $1.9 million was distributed to local governments by the FLRSB during the first year of casino operations.