Ho-Chunk wants Beloit casino - Beloit Daily News: Local News

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Ho-Chunk wants Beloit casino

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Posted: Monday, December 27, 2010 12:00 am

Officials say tribe involved in early planning stages of proposal

Building a tribal casino in Beloit is very high on the Ho-Chunk Nation’s list of priorities, according to spokeswoman Anne Thundercloud.

No timetable for that effort has been announced.

In late October of last year, Ho-Chunk officials spent $4 million on 26 acres of land that had been intended as a key part of the St. Croix and Bad River Chippewa tribes’ Beloit casino site.

It was not until now that Ho-Chunk officials have confirmed they indeed are working to develop a casino in Beloit.

“We continue to have serious interest in building a new casino in the Beloit area, and I think the $4 million land investment we made last year represents an aggressive step in our efforts to explore a variety of job creation investment and economic development opportunities,” Thundercloud said. “The Nation has been performing due diligence on initiating dialogues with officials and laying the groundwork for a successful application.”

Thundercloud does not know how long it may be before a casino proposal moves forward, however, because she said it can be a lengthy process. Still, she said it is one in which Ho-Chunk remains very focused.

In addition to Beloit being part of its ancestral homeland, Ho-Chunk is also committed to bringing good jobs and economic development to the Beloit area, said Thundercloud, citing Beloit’s rank with the highest unemployment rate in the state.

Thundercloud said she had no estimate of how many jobs might be created.

Ho-Chunk, however, has a history of giving a boost to communities all across the state.

For example, Ho-Chunk is the top employer in Sauk and Jackson counties and employs approximately 3,200 Wisconsin residents — 75 percent of whom are non-tribal members, according to Thundercloud.

Ho-Chunk pays out more than $102 million in payroll annually and also provides life, health, dental and vision insurance. The employees pay $8.1 million in taxes to the federal government and another $4.9 million to the state each year.

Ho-Chunk is also giving a portion of its earnings from its gaming and entertainment facilities to 11 Wisconsin counties in which it has land held in trust. Ho-Chunk will award those communities nearly $2.2 million annually for the next 25 years, making a contribution of more than $55 million to local economies.

As for the potential Beloit casino, Thundercloud said Ho-Chunk has renewed efforts over the last several months to reach out to local officials and to open dialogue with them about how to move forward. She also said they have discussed other options to explore job creation and economic opportunities.

City Manager Larry Arft told the Daily News earlier this month that he has had some ongoing communication with Ho-Chunk and is receiving enthusiastic support and assurances that they have been consulting with Bureau of Indian Affairs officials and are working to prepare the necessary documents.

Thundercloud said Ho-Chunk has had conversations in the past with the St. Croix and Bad River tribes (who still have options on adjacent land), but she is unaware of any kind of possible partnership.

Joe Hunt, the spokesman for the St. Croix and Bad River casino project, told the Daily News earlier this month the tribes look forward to sitting down with Ho-Chunk officials to discuss the future of a Beloit casino.

The Ho-Chunk Nation has 7,071 members and is said to be one of the strongest Native American tribes in the United States.

Today the Ho-Chunk Nation is a non-reservation tribe with 3,407 acres of trust land and 5,310 acres of taxable land — a total land base of 8,717 acres. Ho-chunk land is located in 12 counties including Dane, Monroe and La Crosse.

Ho-Chunk is headquartered in Black River Falls.

The Ho-Chunk enterprises include Class II and Class III gaming facilities, hotels and conference centers, convenience stores, movie theaters, and health care and fitness facilities.

The president is Wilfrid Cleveland, and the tribal legislature is made up of representatives for five districts.

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  • Needs A Better Job posted at 12:04 pm on Mon, Feb 6, 2012.

    Needs A Better Job Posts: 1

    Years ago I worked at the Geneva Lakes Greyhound Track. Unfortunately after September 11th, I had to leave my job of three and a half years because they cut my hours due to lack of business. Now I work in a factory, I don’t get paid nearly enough, and the machines belch out smoke that I am forced to breath. I would love to have the chance to work in a nice clean place again. I hope that Ho-Chunk gets the opportunity to build a casino in Beloit. Maybe if there are more jobs in the area, places like the one I work at now would be forced to raise there wages.

  • LMS948 posted at 9:20 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    LMS948 Posts: 0

    We have been waiting a long time for this casino to come in. It is very centrally located. 1 hour from Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison. Illinois wants this bad!! There is always Illinois boats to go to which take away from this area. Ho Chunk up near Wisconsin Dells gets tons of senior citizens who come in on buses. Beloit needs the revenue. It is not going to hurt businesses it will help businesses. Get building soon!!! Jobs are needed in this area badly..!!

  • hidingintheshadows posted at 11:03 am on Mon, Jan 3, 2011.

    hidingintheshadows Posts: 2

    It's real simple. If you don't like it, don't go! Keep your narrow mindedness to yourself. Thank you to the Ho-Chunk Nation for recognizing an opportunity. Bring it on!

  • Gonfo5 posted at 3:05 am on Mon, Jan 3, 2011.

    Gonfo5 Posts: 170

    I think a casino with a great convention center would be great for Beloit. Imagine if there was an indoor waterpark to go with that? It's not entirely about the casino but what comes with it.Also on another note, i don't need to be protected from myself by anyone. If I choose to gamble all my hard earned money away and live in poverty, then that is my right to do so. There is good and bad in every financial stature and who are any of you to pass judgement on anyone?

  • Rantu posted at 6:05 am on Sun, Jan 2, 2011.

    Rantu Posts: 8

    Just what we need,Another way for little Johnny's (or Juan) single mother to blow her gov't benefits.....trying to hit the jackpot at the casino.Our founding fathers made gambling illegal to protect children from their moronic parents being fleeced by unscrupulous casino operators!

  • billtinder posted at 6:13 am on Fri, Dec 31, 2010.

    billtinder Posts: 4890

    Officials at Potowamie just arrested for rigging bingo. Ho-Chunks already gotten too big. Instead of just building one casino, let competing tribes build four casinos and create a mega-complex convention center while instilling better pay-offs due to the resulting competition. That would certainly get some national attention for Beloit, and maybe some manufacturing to go with it.

  • leonid58 posted at 4:13 pm on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.

    leonid58 Posts: 157

    I say bring it on....Beloit needs these jobs ! Also, there are alot of people that drive up to Dejobe or to Hochunk now...why not have them spend their $$ here? Illinois people drive to Elgin....why not Beloit ? They should build a convention center/casino/waterpark/hotel.

  • Closetheborder posted at 10:48 am on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.

    Closetheborder Posts: 117

    I agree, I would be receptive to it if it included a convention center to attract some business. Otherwise, there are plenty of casino opportunities within two hours drive, and only so many dollars available to be lost gambling. I believe those that can least afford it, gamble and lose the most!

  • Captpepe posted at 9:43 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.

    Captpepe Posts: 0

    What possible problems? Crime and drugs?? Yea...Beloit doesn't have any of that now do they.....riiiightt. C'mon people....What are you waiting for?? The next manufacturing rebirth that is not going to happen?I don't like casinos as much as the next guy but look at what the possibilities bring...increased employment, money from Illinois/other citiies being infused into the lcoal economy. Find a way to tie this in with downtown restaurants, Snappers, etc. Just because someone wants to gamble doesn't make them a "hoodlum" and that they may also want to eat dinner while here or catch a ball game. A convention center would be a smart idea for the Ho-Chunk to consider given the location (I-43,I-90) for businesses like Regal and Kerry. Put down your prejudices before completely writing off this idea. Either that or remain content with a 12-14% umemployment while nobody else is bring ideas to the table.

  • nadinesoul posted at 4:19 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.

    nadinesoul Posts: 1

    This will cause nothing but problems if this casino opens.

  • Military_Mom posted at 2:08 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.

    Military_Mom Posts: 0

    There are enough OTHER things Beloit needs before entertaining the idea of a casino! It is a great little towm with the exception of the unemployment. Develop what is needed here and bring stability back. Then possibly entertain the idea of a casino. Not bring in something to possibly enhance the town. Casinos bring crime, something we don't need!

  • badgerbicycle posted at 10:16 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.

    badgerbicycle Posts: 5

    Give up already.


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