Wisconsin, Illinois leaders weigh in with Beloit casino one step closer

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BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) -- The City of Beloit may get full approval to build a casino by the end of this summer.

"Families are looking for entertainment destinations that provide something for everyone, says Beloit's City Manager Lori Curtis Luther. "I think this is just a great opportunity to maximize that."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs published a final environmental impact statement for the Ho-Chunk Nation and Casino Project.

The next step is to obtain approval by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. That could happen any time after this 30 day period passes.

"We're in a great geographical spot," says Curtis Luther. "This is a game changer for us."

Rockford shares that same area on the Stateline, but Illinois lawmakers need to pass a gambling bill before moving forward with their own plans.

"We are not bound by what they're doing in Illinois, and likewise they are not bound by what we are doing here in Wisconsin," says Ho-Chunk public relations officer Ryan Greendeer. "If they see an impact of course they're going to act on that, but we are pretty certain that there is not going to be a detrimental impact on the state of Illinois."

Beloit city leaders say the casino will bring 1,500 jobs to the area, and they anticipate $3.5 million annually in revenue.

State Senator Dave Syverson says it would be tough to compete with a casino in Beloit that is built on Indian land, which disqualifies them from paying taxes.

However, Syverson is hopeful the gambling bill will pass this weekend so Illinois can move forward with a Rockford casino.