Mohegans make Wisconsin move

Oct 26, 2004 7:16 AM

The future of a dog track in Kenosha, Wisc., may be better known on Tuesday, Nov. 2, when county voters decide whether they like the idea of an $800 million tribal casino on the property.

Actually the vote is only advisory but the Kenosha City Council and the County Board have said they will not act on the proposal by the Menominee Nation until after the electorate expresses its opinion.

And standing in the wings is the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, the operators of Mohegan Sun Casino Resort that has signed a seven-year management agreement with the Menominees to run the tribe’s planned casino.

Plans call for a 160,000 square foot casino at the former dog track. The Mohegans have invested $3.1 million in the project, expecting it to go forward.

As for the Menominees, the Tribal Council last week approved a draft for an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that would reimburse the local governments for lost tax revenues and services if its casino complex becomes a reality.

Also, the IGA includes provisions that would waive the tribe’s sovereign immunity rights and establish guidelines that the facility would be required to meet. As an aside to the IGA, the Menominees signed an agreement with a local labor organization that will allow the workers, expected to be about 3,300 in number, to become unionized.

The agreement between the Mohegans and the Menominees was described by supporters as "a precedent-setting pact between two tribes."

Just last week, the Mohegans announced it plans to buy Pocono Downs, a harness racetrack in Pennsylvania from Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN).