Menominee Nation weighs next step for off-reservation casino

Members of the Menominee Nation and their supporters marched to the Wisconsin State Capitol on February 18, 2015. Photo from Facebook

The Menominee Nation is debating the next step in its fight for an off-reservation casino in Wisconsin.

Despite marching 156 miles from the reservation to the state capitol in Madison, the tribe was unable to convince Gov. Scott Walker (R) to change his mind about approving the $800 million casino in Kenosha. Options are now being discussed.

“We’ll pick ourselves off the mat and see what is next," spokesperson Michael Beightol told The Kenosha News.

University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Richard Monette, a former chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, believes the Menominee Nation could make a strong case in federal court. He said the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act could violate the U.S. Constitution by giving veto authority over off-reservation casinos to the state governor.

Monette also said the tribe could make a case in state court. He suggested that Walker violated anti-trust laws by rejecting the casino.

In 2004, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the two-part determination provisions of IGRA after three Wisconsin tribes were rebuffed by then-governor Scott McCallum (R).

The text of IGRA specifically vests veto authority with the "Governor of the state" and the BIA's Section 20 regulations reiterate that the governor's approval is required.

Get the Story:
Casino deadline passes, but Menominee not ready to give up (The Kenosha News 2/20)
Kenosha casino fight could end up in court (Wisconsin Radio Network 2/20)
UW law professor lays out a legal path to Kenosha casino for Menominee tribe (The Milwaukee Business Journal 2/19)

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

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Menominee Nation makes last push for off-reservation casino (2/19)
Menominee Nation sought to bar rival off-reservation casino (2/17)
Menominee Nation begins 156-mile walk in support of casino (2/13)

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