The Kenosha casino is one of those issues that I do NOT feel strongly about. (It’s a nice change).
Back when Walker said he would not allow a Kenosha casino unless ALL tribes agreed on the project, I assumed he was either
1) Doing standard divide and conquer to weaken tribal solidarity on mining and environmental issues.
2) Holding the Menominee tribe’s plans hostage so he could shakedown the Ho Chunk and Potawatomi for more campaign donations.
One of the frequent arguments that comes up in favor of the new Kenosha casino is “if Wisconsin doesn’t open a casino there then they’ll just open one in Illinois”.
In the email Walker sent out today, he says that Illinois has maxed-out on the casinos it can have under current legislation and he is further delaying a decision on the matter.
Working for Wisconsin: An Open and Transparent Review of the Kenosha Casino Application
On August 23, the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of Interior approved an application to allow the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to construct and operate a casino in Kenosha—pending the approval of the Governor of Wisconsin. Last week, Menominee tribal leaders submitted details on their request to me, and I met with them on the following day.
As your Governor, I take the review of this information very seriously. Originally, I intended to release a decision by the end of the last week. After an initial review of the volumes of information presented to me in support and in opposition of the proposed casino, I decided to take more time to review and check the information provided to my administration.
It is important to have an open and transparent process to review the request from the Menominee. With this in mind, I will provide details on different issues being reviewed in an email to you over each of the next few days. In addition, I will review some of the important questions regarding the proposal and share the information we have been able to gather through this lengthy process.
One of the frequent questions we are asked is whether a new casino in Illinois will emerge if a casino is not approved in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We asked the Division of Gaming in the Wisconsin Department of Administration to research that question for us.
According to the information provided by the Division of Gaming, Illinois does not have tribal gaming. Therefore, there are no applications pending with the Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding casinos in Illinois.
The State of Illinois does grant Class III casino gaming licenses to private companies, and the state government has issued all of the licenses it is entitled to under current law. Thus, there are no pending casino applications in Illinois at this time.
Legislative efforts were made in 2012 and 2013 to increase the number of casinos in Illinois, but Governor Pat Quinn vetoed both measures.
As mentioned, I will continue to provide information each day on the various issues we are reviewing in this application for a casino in Kenosha.
Image credit: FreeRishad. Creative Commons License use.