White Earth Nation tries to address concerns about planned casino

A view of Star Lake in Minnesota. Photo from Star Lake Property Owner's Association

The White Earth Nation continues to face questions about a proposed gaming facility in Star Lake, Minnesota.

Residents packed a community meeting on March 30 to discuss the project. Many were concerned about the size of the casino -- which includes a hotel, a 10,000 square-foot conference center and a 6,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor pool and spa -- given the rural nature of Star Lake.

“We tried to blend the northwoods feel and not present ourselves as a Las Vegas-style casino," Bill Marsh, the general manager of the Shooting Star Casino said at the meeting, The Detroit Lakes Tribune reported. "Our focus is on the resort-type living. That’s the type of the facility we are trying to design.”

The tribe owns 14.5 acres of trust land at the lake. The tribe has since purchased adjoining properties and now owns a total of 270 acres there, according to Otter Tail County.

The Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota. Photo from Facebook

The tribe operates one Shooting Star location in Mahnomen and is building a second one near the communities of Bagley and Ebro. Both sites are located on the main reservation

Star Lake is about 39 miles from the southern border of the reservation. The tribe maintains a cultural connection to the area, which has been used for traditional ricing activities.

The land was placed in trust prior to 1988 but an exact date hasn't been reported in the Minnesota media. The Class III gaming compact authorizes gaming at any site on the reservation as well as additional "Indian lands" under the tribe's jurisdiction.

The Star Lake site presumably falls under the definition of "Indian lands" in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The casino could open sometime in 2017.

Get the Story:
Shooting Star Casino meeting draws large crowd in Dent (The Detroit Lakes Tribune 4/16)

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