Walker says “no” to Menominee tribe’s Kenosha casino

25 January 2015

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported on Friday, January 23 that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has denied the request of the Menominee Tribe to open an off-reservation casino in Kenosha. The project had been endorsed by Kenosha County but faced strong opposition from the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk Tribes, who believed a Kenosha casino would harm their existing casino operations.The Menominee Tribe has been seeking approval for a Kenosha casino for more than a decade. In 2005, former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed a compact with the Potawatomi Tribe requiring that the tribe be reimbursed for any loss of business stemming from approval of the Kenosha casino proposal.

Governor Walker cited this requirement as one of the major reasons for his decision to deny the Menominee Tribe’s requestState officials expressed the fear that state taxpayers might be on the hook for that reimbursement, even though the Menonimee Tribe had pledged a $200 million bond to cover any losses incurred by the competing tribes’Federal law requires that proposals for off-reservation casinos be approved by the Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as by the Governor in the affected state. Governors have virtual veto power over the opening of any proposed off-reservation tribal casino.

MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said that MIGA tribes adopted a resolution opposing any expansion of gaming, including off-reservation casinos, in 1992 and have maintained that position ever since.