Beloit Casino Project

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

Beloit casino project spokesman Joseph Hunt says the tribes have done the required work. Now the future of the proposed casino lies in the hands of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"There's a lot of off reservation casino applications in DC; ours is on that list. We anticipate that our application will be reviewed, we just don't know how quickly that will happen," says Hunt.

If the BIA agrees with the application to put 25 acres of land into trust for gaming purposes, the application will then go to Gov. Jim Doyle's desk. He would then negotiate a contract with the tribes.

"There's a lot of built in measures to make sure that this is the right decision not only for the tribes, but for the community, so we understand on the one hand, but we're very impatient because we have waited so long. I mean, we've played by the rules, and we just want to move forward," says Hunt.

But the latest saga in the story happened last week after the Wisconsin Senate passed a bill that essentially places the Legislature in the middle of the off-reservation casino approval process, but federal law directly grants the governor of a state with the power to negotiate contracts with tribes.

"The next step, according to the governor's aide, they'll be a veto of that bill right after it reaches the governor's desk," says Hunt.

But Hunt says his focus remains strictly on the BIA and working to move the process forward. Hunt says a casino would be an economic shot in the arm for the stateline.

The proposed $200 million project would create a casino, hotel, water park, theater and convention center. The 92 acres are located at Willowbrook and Colley Roads right off I-90. The casino would house 3,000 slot machines, and 3,000 jobs would be created.

Beloit isn't the only city planning for a casino in Wisconsin. There are currently three proposed casino projects in the state: Beloit, Kenosha and Shullsburg.


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