The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan are now stating they have enough land to be able to gain federal approval to create a casino in the state. The tribe submitted an application in 2014 with the United States Department of Interior and added provisions to the application late last year. Officials of the tribe stated in the application that they are now in possession of 71 acres of land located near the Detroit Metro Airport and plan on creating a casino on the land at the site of an old abandoned church.
The 71 acres also includes a portion of 7 acres that is located in the Huron Township that includes the former race course known as Pinnacle. The 7 acres of land was acquired by the tribe in 2010 and when asked what they plan on doing with the land, including the former racetrack, the tribe has yet to reveal their plans.
In regards to the former church site, the tribe plans on creating a casino complex that will include other services such as educational and health related options for members of the tribe. Experts in the local casino industry believe that the casino would impact the three casinos of Detroit, in regards to gambling revenues, in a negative way. Many feel the casino industry of Detroit is already saturated.
Michigan tribal casinos are allowed to exempt taxes, unlike the commercial casinos, who have to pay millions each year in regards to taxes. Certain tribes have agreed to pay 2% of net winnings from their casino to the local government as well as the state.
With the Sault Tribe, they have allotted 0.5% of their slot machine winnings to go towards the local government and are agreeable to paying a regular payment instead of property taxes. In exchange for the payments, the township has stated they will not try to stop the project from happening and will send a letter of their support to the United States Department of Interior.