Michigan critics playing casino numbers game

Feb 16, 2009 7:10 PM
by Ray Poirier | Critics of adding another tribal casino in Michigan are complaining that it will place the state right behind Las Vegas in total number of casinos.


Adding another casino in Michigan will bring the number to 24, still a far cry from Oklahoma where there are 38 tribal casinos.

There is a difference, however, since all 38 Oklahoma casinos use so-called Class II slot machines where the Michigan properties are full–fledged casinos.

The argument over the numbers developed last week when the Michigan lawmakers approved a casino compact that was negotiated by Gov. Jennifer Granholm with the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. Actually, the tribe is better known as the Gun Lake tribe and the casino would be located southwest of Grand Rapids.

"When are we going to reach the saturation point in Michigan?" complained Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom. "What are we becoming as a state?" he asked. He was joined by other critics of the compact who tallied the 24 casinos.

One compact opponent identified casinos as having a "negative business model" that "boosts crime and ultimately hurts, not helps, local communities."

Supporters, however, said the casino was necessary because "we need the money."