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Governor rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming plan




Artist's rendering of the proposed Menominee Nation off-reservation casino. Image from Casino Kenosha

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) today rejected the off-reservation casino proposed by the Menominee Nation.

The BIA approved the Kenosha casino under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law gives Walker veto authority, which he exercised this morning by refusing to concur with the decision.

"After a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact of the proposed Kenosha casino project, the risk to the state’s taxpayers is too great," Walker said in a press release.

According to Walker, the state would have lost out on $100 million under a Class III gaming compact with the Forest County Potawatomi Community. He also cited a "long-term economic hit" if he approved the proposed $800 million off-reservation casino in Kenosha.

The Menominees blamed the Potawatomis for scuttling the project. Chairwoman Laurie Boivin also said Walker's presidential aspirations motivated his decision.

"It is our belief that this project would have improved the lives of the nearly 9000 members of the tribe," Boivin said this morning on Facebook. "Instead, one tribe – the Forest County Potawatomi and one goal of Governor Walker – the Presidency -- has led to a no for our people."

Just yesterday, Boivin announced that the tribe was putting up a bond of $200 million to $250 million to offset any losses to the state. And earlier this week, the tribe signed a new Class III gaming compact that would have put an estimated $1 billion into the state's coffers over 25 years.

Since 1988, only three tribes have successfully opened casinos under the two-part determination provisions of IGRA. One is the Forest County Potawatomi Community, whose Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee is about 40 miles from Kenosha.

Get the Story:
Gov. Scott Walker REJECTS plan to build Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Kenosha (WITI 1/23)
Walker rejects proposed Kenosha casino (The Racine Journal Times 1/23)
Walker rejects Menominee casino plan (FOX 11 News 1/23)
Scott Walker rejects Menominee bid for Kenosha casino (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 1/23)
Gov. Walker rejects Kenosha casino; Rep. Kerkman calls decision “a true disappointment” (West of the I 1/23)
Menominee will post bond to cover state of Wisconsin losses from Potawatomi agreements (The Milwaukee Business Journal 1/22)
Menominee Tribe gets bond to protect state as Potawatomi file federal suit (WBAY 1/22)
Walker: Kenosha casino decision ‘imminent’ (FOX11 News 1/22)
Potawatomi sue over Kenosha casino reimbursement language (The Kenosha News 1/23)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: Menominee Nation Decision | Section 20 Determination: Menominee Nation Off-Reservation Casino

Related Stories:
Menominee Nation expects fast action from BIA on new compact (1/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe sues BIA over rejected compact (1/22)