The governor for the American state of Wisconsin has reportedly signed off on a $405 million plan that is to see the federally-recognized Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin bring a tribal casino in the city of Beloit.
According to a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, Tony Evers (pictured) approved the project yesterday some eleven months after the Bureau of Indian Affairs granted the tribe’s land-into-trust petition regarding a 32-acre plot located on the outskirts of the city of approximately 37,000 people.
Formerly known as the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin already operates Ho-Chunk Gaming-branded casinos in the Wisconsin cities of Black River Falls, Baraboo, Madison, Nekoosa, Tomah and Wittenberg. The tribe has purportedly been endeavoring to realize a seventh such tribal venue since 2016 and earlier revealed that the coming property is due to feature a 300-room hotel and a 40,000 sq ft indoor water park as well as a 139,700 sq ft casino offering a diverse selection of slots and gaming tables.
The newspaper reported that the envisioned tribal facility will sit alongside Interstate 90 less than a mile from Wisconsin’s border with the neighboring state of Illinois and employ approximately 1,500 people when fully up and running. Ryan Greendeer, a spokesperson for the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, reportedly divulged that construction on the project’s casino is likely to begin over the course of the next twelve months after which the tribe will be obliged to agree a gaming compact so as to set out its specific revenue commitments to ‘The Badger State’.
Unlike many other American jurisdictions, Wisconsin reportedly gives its governor the sole responsibility for granting or denying applications to open a tribal casino. As such and 69-year-old Evers purportedly told the newspaper that he approved the Beloit project as part of an effort to ‘bounce back’ from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by doing ‘everything we can to support economic development in communities across our state.’
Sarah Lemieux, a representative for the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, reportedly told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that her tribe’s coming casino will likely be smoke-free. However, she furthermore purportedly divulged that an ultimate verdict would be a sovereign decision rather than any adherence to the state’s current prohibition against indoor smoking.
Karena Thundercloud, Vice-President for the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, reportedly told the newspaper that her tribe’s gambling-friendly businesses have recently been suffering as a result of a dramatic drop in visitation linked to the coronavirus pandemic. She purportedly went on to pronounce that this has consequently hurt members as it counts on these casinos for a large slice of its public revenues.
Thundercloud reportedly told the newspaper…
“We’ve been focusing so much time and effort on our coronavirus response that it’s almost surreal to have this great news of the Governor’s concurrence today.”