Michigan lawmakers study
compact bill

Nov 18, 2003 5:11 AM

While Station Casinos Inc. (STN) proceeds with its tribal contract for a casino project in Wayland, Mich., detractors were pushing legislation that could delay or impede the project, as well as any others that might be developed.

A month ago, a bill was filed in the Michigan House that would "provide for the manner of approval of certain compacts made between (the) state and an Indian tribe, and to prohibit construction and operation of casinos by Indian tribes on certain land in (Michigan)."

The bill, which could affect the Gun Lake Band and subsequent gaming plans in Michigan, has been referred to a committee on regulatory reform.

The Station Casinos agreement with the Gun Lake Band proposes a Las Vegas styled casino of 192,000 square feet to be built on a 145-acre site about 25 miles north of Kalamazoo. The casino company would assist with the financing of the project, expected to be about $200 million, and would manage the property for seven years, receiving in payment, 30% of the net income.

Meanwhile, the state’s existing casino operators in Detroit, and the 17 tribal casinos throughout Michigan have been working against a proposal to permit the existing seven racetracks to install slot machines.

The legislative package that would legalize video lottery terminals passed the Michigan House last summer and is now being reviewed by the Senate’s Gaming and Casino Oversight Committee.

Opponents of the bill have suggested that racinos would directly reduce the revenues to the City of Detroit, through its existing three casinos, by $40 million and reduce Detroit and tribal casinos combined by $200 million.