In attempt to gain approval for its proposed $808 million Hard Rock Casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Menominee Indian Tribe has pledged to offset any losses incurred by nearby Indian gaming facilities and the state with up to $250 million over the first five years of the casino's operations, reported the Milwaukee Business Journal. The Menominee plan to partner with Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment to develop the casino-hotel in Kenosha.
On November 2, the tribe delivered a 12-page letter to Gov. Scott Walker, contending some statements he made last week about the Hard Rock's potential impact, and pledging the $250 million, which includes a $50 million letter of credit from Hard Rock International, the developer and casino manager, if the tribe is required to pay out more than $200 million to gaming tribes in central Wisconsin, reported biztimes.com.
The commitment is largely a response to Gov. Walker's remarks on October 31 that taxpayers face the potential to lose "real money" if the state must compensate gaming tribes' losses due to the new casino. The state's compacts with the Forest County Potawatomi Community and the Ho-Chunk Nation mandate the state offset all losses in gaming revenue due to new gaming operations.
Gov. Walker also questioned the Kenosha project's ability to get unanimous consent of the 11 other tribes in the state, as well as community support. Presently, the Forest County Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk Nation remain opposed to the Kenosha project, reported biztimes.com.
"As we discussed in detail in a meeting with Governor Walker and Secretary Mike Huebsch on October 23, 2013, Menominee will ensure through its Compact agreement with the State that any amounts owed to Potawatomi or Ho-Chunk pursuant to their Compact provisions as a result of the Kenosha Project will be covered by Menominee, not by the State," Craig Corn, Menominee tribal chairman, said in the letter. "In addition, Menominee has committed to ensure that the actual amount of revenue currently received by the State not be diminished as a result of the Kenosha Project."
Walker, who has final authority to approve or reject the off-reservation casino, has indicated he will make a decision this week.
“Opening the Kenosha casino is the implementation of gaming long contemplated by both the State and the Menominee Tribe," the letter states. "We ask that the Governor follow through on the commitments previously made through the compacts. His approval will help create 5000 more new jobs in his first term. If he fails to approve the Kenosha project some may say it is because he agrees that the tribes with the most lucrative casinos should decide the fate of the poorest tribe in Wisconsin.”