The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians are moving forward with their plans for growth, now that a multi-year lawsuit is almost behind them. The group is also known as the Gun Lake Tribe and operate the Gun Lake Casino of Michigan. The tribe is preparing to open their new expansion project, efforts that cost $76 million to complete. The project is actually the first time the tribe has upgraded the facility since it opened.
The grand opening of the expansion project is set to debut on May 3rd and by that time, the tribe should know if their legal issues are over. It is expected that the United States Supreme Court will announce, possibly today, the decision in the Patchak v. Zinke case. This is a case that questions the legalities of the site where the casino is located.
Almost ten years ago, David Patchak decided to sue the Bureau of Indian Affairs to try and stop the opening of the casino. Patchak lives about three miles from the venue and is not part of the tribe. He was not successful but has kept the case ongoing, making it all the way to the highest court of the land.
The tribe is hoping that the court will rule in their favor. In 2012, the court allowed the case to move forward but Congress came in and passed the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act which was supportive of the tribe. This bill confirmed that the casino site was in a trust and could not be challenged in court.
Still, Patchak continued with his case and it became apparent he wanted money from the tribe or federal government in his efforts. A settlement never took place and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to rule in agreement with the new law last July.
The US Supreme Court Justices are now meeting to consider what should happen in the dispute. If the petition is rejected, the tribe will win yet again at the same time as the casino enjoys a grand opening of the new changes this Wednesday.
The expansion includes a new area of 73,000 square feet which basically doubles the size of the venue since its opening in 2011. A buffet has been added with 300 seats along with a larger stage for entertainment and space that includes additional table games and gaming machines.
The tribe began the expansion early last year and with construction, helped to bring 300 to 400 jobs to the area. 100 employees have been hired to work at the gaming venue with the tribe hosting three job fairs last month.