Seven Upper Peninsula counties are $2 million richer this fiscal year, thanks to gambling revenues distributed by the tribe. The payments benefit local economies, support schools and pay for other civic endeavors, Tribal Chairman Bernard Bouschor said. Under a 1993 gaming agreement with the state, the tribe earmarks 2 percent of its net income from slot machines to pay local property taxes and fund community projects. Since the pact was created, the tribe has paid $10 million to eastern U.P. counties, cities and townships for various programs and projects. This fiscal year's disbursements gave Chippewa County $1.1 million; Mackinac County, $668,005; Alger County, $107,500; Luce County, $42,000; Marquette County, $33,000; Schoolcraft County, $58,544 and $31,000 to Delta County. The tribe was once among the poorest communities in Michigan. It now owns Kewadin Casino properties in Sault Ste. Marie, Hessel, Manistique, Christmas, St. Ignace and Detroit and is the region's largest employer with a workforce of more than 4,000 employees.
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