Beloit Casino Meeting Brings Out Excitement, Criticism From Illinois Leaders

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For the past five years, the St. Croix and Lake Superior Chippewa Tribes worked through their casino application in Beloit.

As casino talks reach their final stages, a federal Indian organization listened to the community before moving forward.

Leaders of the Bureau of Indian Affairs received written comments about the possible casino from stateline residents. If the BIA approves the comments, the tribes will take the study to Gov. Jim Doyle.

The two Chippewa Tribes are planning to build a casino on land off I-90 in Beloit. The proposed complex would also include a convention center and water park.

While some Beloit residents are excited, Winnebago County leaders say the potential loss of local revenue would be devastating.

"This is exciting and I hope the community would support this, the communities that we supported can now support us in turn," Beloit resident Betty Villalobos-Hallman said.

"They'll come to Wisconsin, all lose their money, come back to our community and ask for our help, and quite frankly the indoor water park will devastate anything that the Rock Park district has," Winnebago County board member John Sweeney said.