Feds approve Kenosha casino, but it still faces hurdles

The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved a plan for an off-reservation gaming facility in Kenosha that could add 3,000 jobs, and determined that such a facility would be in the best interests of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, which has been trying to open a casino at the old Dairyland Greyhound Park since the 1990s.

Gov. Scott Walker, who still needs to approve the proposal, said he would not do so unless both the local community and all 11 tribes support the decision, and that seems unlikely at this juncture. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Forest County Potawatomi, owners of Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, have urged Walker not to approve the Kenosha plan, fearing it would reduce the Milwaukee facility’s revenue by as much as 20%.

In response to those concerns, the Menominee Indian Tribe has offered to make the Forest County Potawatomi partners in the new Kenosha gaming facility, according to a Milwaukee Business Journal report, making the Potawatomi the developer and manager of the proposed $800 million casino. “The Menominee are also offering the Forest County Potawatomi the chance to lease gaming machines to the Kenosha casino and the ability to obtain development rights for a portion of the site, giving the Potawatomi the ability to build complementary facilities at the site.”