Casino Stalker

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community fails to sell governor on casino

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community owns and operates the Ojibwa Casino in Marquette, Michigan. Photo by Ocie Albert / Facebook

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community wasn't able to convince Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to reconsider his stance on an off-reservation casino.

In December 2011, tribe won approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to relocate the Ojibwa Casino in Marquette to a site that's actually closer to the reservation. But Snyder declined to revisit the issue after rejecting the proposal in June 2013.

"As the economy in the Upper Peninsula has continued to struggle since 2013, KBIC remains interested in pursuing this development, not just for its own economic benefit and that of its members, but for the economic benefit of the entire surrounding Marquette community," the tribe said in a press release on Tuesday.

According to the tribe, Snyder did not actually respond directly to the request. Instead one of his attorneys said the governor is instead interested in negotiating a "common agreement" to address issues that go beyond gaming, such as tobacco taxation.

"This so-called 'common agreement' is the same tactic that Governor Snyder used in 2013 in killing KBIC's development. In reality, the 'common agreement' was a series of demands for concessions by KBIC in a blatant attempt by Governor Snyder to sell his concurrence to KBIC," the tribe said in response.

Snyder's concurrence for the casino is required under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law does not place any conditions or restraints on a state governor in making such a decision.

However, Snyder is asking the tribe to amend its Class III gaming compact as part of the "common agreement" process and a federal court might consider his demands to be unreasonable if the issue ever went into litigation. Non-gaming provisions of compacts are also considered unenforceable by the BIA.

Get the Story:
Gov. Snyder denies KBIC request, says community (ABC10UP 5/3)
Governor again denies KBIC casino plan (WNMU 5/3)
KBIC: Snyder rejects plans for old Marquette County Airport (WLUC 5/3)

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