New Detroit Mayor may make Grand delivery downtown

Dec 4, 2001 2:33 AM


The ever-expanding Detroit downtown area could find casino gambling as part of its skyline.

Mayor-elect Kwame Kilpatrick told the Detroit News that he plans to put a high priority on resolving the casinos issue within 90 days of taking office on New Year’s Day.

Kilpatrick has talked informally with officials of the MGM Grand Casino about finding a permanent downtown site, possibly near the entertainment complex that has grown up around the new baseball and football stadiums.

The City Council is expected this week to extend the agreement until March 31 under which the city’s three temporary casinos have been allowed to operate. The pact was set to expire Dec. 31.

Kilpatrick said he was comfortable with out-going Mayor Dennis Archer’s most recent proposal that would move the MGM Grand Casino to the riverfront. MotorCity and Greektown casinos would be allowed to expand and build hotels near their present locations.

MGM President Scott Snow wouldn’t comment on any talks with Kilpatrick or his transition team.

“If approval for the East Rutherford location is not forthcoming, we will look forward to working with the city to learn of the alternatives the city would propose,” Snow said.

New Michigan casinos

Indian tribes in Michigan anticipate expanding their casino operations if Congressional legislation allows a pair of Upper Peninsula proposals.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., are engaged in discussions that could move ahead Stupak’s bill to settle pending Indian land claims with the Bay Mills and Sault Ste Marie Indian tribes.

The proposed changes in the Stupak bill are supported by Michigan Gov. John Engler, whose has been a longtime and ardent opponent of expanding off-reservation Indian gaming, according to a Traverse City (Mich.) Record Eagle report.

The bill, first introduced in July, could receive federal approval by the end of the year.

Oneida eyes Catskills

The Oneida nation is considered a solid bet to land one of three new casinos approved for New York.

The Oneidas, which own and operate the Turning Stone casino, have a 250,000-acre land claim against the state.

The tribe would likely drop the claim in exchange for a Sullivan County casino.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said any casino deal should be tied to the settlement of the Oneida claim, which could cost the state $1 billion.

Conn tribe eyes site

Western Connecticut could be the site for a new Indian-owned casino.

The Schaghticoke Indians hope to gain federal recognition next year on a site off I-84 between Waterbury and Danbury for a gambling casino.

Richard L. Velky, chief of the 300-member Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, declined to name specific locations for a possible casino. He said the tribe’s prime concern is to become a federally recognized tribe.

Serious discussion about a casino’s location is a year off, according to Velky.

Rock still speaks

Speaking Rock is still alive.

The Tigua Indians casino, based in El Paso, was given a six-week stay by a three-judge panel in Texas.

The ruling overturned a federal appeals court decision that ordered the gaming venue to cease operations by Friday.

“Everybody is very excited that the 5th (Circuit) Court of Appeals has granted our motion for stay and they’ve recognized our sovereignty issue,” Tigua Gov. Albert Alvidrez told the El Paso Times.

The sovereignty issue has been the heart of the legal battle. Oral arguments for the case are scheduled for Jan. 9.

Attacks hurt Miss

Casinos in Mississippi took a hit in October largely due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

The 30 state-regulated casinos took in $212.9 million in October compared with $218.4 million a year ago, according to figures from the Mississippi Tax Commission.

“I think a combination of the general economy and people afraid to travel have affected us some, but we haven’t been hurt nearly as badly as Las Vegas,” said Brian Richard, senior research analyst with the Mississippi Gaming Association.

N. Mexico holdout

The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe in New Mexico  refuses to bail out of a lawsuit over gambling.

The tribe is arguing that they should not have to share slot machine profits with the state of New Mexico.

Most of the New Mexico tribes have bailed out of the lawsuit. Pueblo, which owns the Cities of Gold, said it would take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if the District Court does not strike down revenue sharing.