EDITORIAL: Beloit casino plan is unique - Beloit Daily News: Todays Opinion

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EDITORIAL: Beloit casino plan is unique

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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 4:00 pm

Walker’s conditions are tough, but Beloit still has strong case to make.

HERE IN BELOIT, does news that a Kenosha off-reservation casino has won approval at the federal level bode good or bad for this community’s long-delayed casino complex?

As far as the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs process goes, this would appear to be good news. There was a time, under the Bush administration, when casino applications were going nowhere. BIA approval of the Kenosha concept means federal authorities are making fair decisions again.

The Beloit casino plan by the Ho-Chunk Nation is under review at the BIA’s regional level. If Kenosha can win approval, so can Beloit.

THEN WHAT? Under the law, if federal approval is granted for a tribal casino plan, the proposal goes on for a final decision by the state’s governor. Local communities can’t make the decision. Legislators have no say. It’s thumbs up or thumbs down from the governor.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has addressed in the past how he would approach any casino plan that arrived on his desk with federal approval. He reiterated that stand Friday after the Kenosha BIA decision was announced.

Walker has established three conditions that must be met in his deliberations. They are:

• Local community support.

• No new net gaming in the state.

• The 11 sovereign tribes must reach consensus.

THAT’S A HIGH BAR. Truth is, it may be too high for most proposals to clear.

Local support generally is not an issue. Casino developments promise hundreds of millions of dollars in construction; hundreds of construction jobs; and hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs once facilities are up and running. Few communities would turn that down.

But the idea of no new net gaming is tough. To meet that condition, another gaming facility might have to close to make room for a new one.

The biggest impediment, though, certainly is for the 11 tribes to reach consensus. The nations often do not see eye-to-eye on various issues and sometimes feud with each other energetically. Moreover, the tribal casinos compete for entertainment dollars. The Potawatomi, for example, operate a lucrative casino in Milwaukee, and estimate a Kenosha gaming facility would cut tens of millions of dollars off their annual revenue. Reaching consensus with the Potawatomi, obviously, will be problematic.

THE BELOIT CASINO PLAN is different. The Ho-Chunk Nation has a previous compact with the state allowing the tribe to open one more casino in Wisconsin. How would Walker view that stipulation in the compact, since he didn’t negotiate it? Good question.

To our way of thinking, the governor’s conditions are unrealistic. And, we suspect, he knows that. But it gives him cover to say no, if he’s so inclined.

If the BIA gives the Ho-Chunk the green light in Beloit, as the agency did in Kenosha, we hope the governor eases back a bit. He should recognize the unique provision in the compact. He should see the strong need for investment and jobs in Beloit. He should see the geographic advantage of locating a facility on the state line, at the gateway to Wisconsin.

Stay tuned.

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  • Delavan Mike posted at 4:53 pm on Mon, Sep 2, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    I agree that many (not all) politicians deserve Mr Data's criticism.
    I completely disagree with his inclusion of public sector workers who are only trying to make a living and help the communities they serve.

  • Mr Data posted at 11:45 am on Mon, Sep 2, 2013.

    Mr Data Posts: 3916

    Why is it those who work in our government jobs / political offices / public sector workforce just can't see the trees from the forest?

    Why won't they keep their promises, set their standards a little higher, and achieve rather than fail?

    And above all .. why don't they meet their customers (us taxpayers) expectations?

    I guess they do so because they really don't have to. We never hold them accountable.

  • Delavan Mike posted at 8:44 pm on Sun, Sep 1, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Walker promised 250,000 jobs and has not come close. Here may be an opportunity to help create some (if he is still in office when it finally lands on the governor's desk) and he acts like an obstructionist.

  • Mr Data posted at 9:08 am on Sun, Sep 1, 2013.

    Mr Data Posts: 3916

    How many years now has Beloit tried to get a Casino?

    All the way back to the Tommy era.

    Every Gov has stonewalled the effort by Beloit to do so. Tommy, McCallum, Doyle, and now Scottie. There must be something in the water up there in Mad City.

    This could really help the economy of the entire So WI and No IL area.

  • Delavan Mike posted at 9:39 pm on Wed, Aug 28, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    I read elsewhere that Walker does not want to get in between the tribes--he wants them to work it out themselves. It is his job to make the decision as long as the decision rests with the governor. He was fine making controversial decisions that threw the state into turmoil but weasels out on this one. I agree that he opposes the expansion of casinos but doesn't want to be seen as the bad guy. This way he can blame the tribes. What a cop out.

  • luckydog posted at 12:19 pm on Wed, Aug 28, 2013.

    luckydog Posts: 3630

    I don't know Bill. Has Governor Quinn ever established a legal defense fund for himself the way Scooter did in Wisconsin? Say what you want about Quinn there's never been any hint that he's corrupt or has sold his soul to the Koch brothers the way Scooter has.

  • billtinder posted at 5:37 pm on Tue, Aug 27, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4803

    Maybe Lucky can get Governor Quinn to enlighten Governor Walker as to the ins and outs of "graft protocol", so he can get the ball rolling along like it seems to be doing here in Illinois.

  • luckydog posted at 2:59 pm on Tue, Aug 27, 2013.

    luckydog Posts: 3630

    No way will Scooter approve an Indian casino in Beloit. The HoChunk tribe hasn't contributed enough money to his campaign.

  • FantasiaWHT posted at 10:07 am on Tue, Aug 27, 2013.

    FantasiaWHT Posts: 8

    The "consensus" is preposterous. I'm a Walker supporter, but this is extremely dishonest of him. Why doesn't he just come out and say "I don't want any new casinos" and be straight about it? There's no good reason a new casino's existing competitors should have to give their "permission" to build the new casino. It's just an excuse to make it look like Walker isn't blocking the new casino, the other tribes are.

  • billtinder posted at 11:53 pm on Mon, Aug 26, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4803

    Given the choice, I think the Potawatomi Tribe would support the Beloit location, just to prevent the Greyhound park location. but you can bet that if the Chippewa's lose their claim to the 41 acre option that they had, next to the casino location; they will probably become even more embittered then they already are; and will have NO vested reason to grant support for the project.

    That won't bother me, because I have no desire to enjoy higher traffic flows or higher real estate taxes.[wink]

  • js20094 posted at 6:12 pm on Mon, Aug 26, 2013.

    js20094 Posts: 1230

    Maybe Scott Walker will be out of office before this comes to fruition. As for yea or nay, the residents of our community have already voted in favor.

  • 1badbubyu posted at 5:49 pm on Mon, Aug 26, 2013.

    1badbubyu Posts: 1364

    I do not see all the tribes reaching a consensus. Furthermore I do not support a new casino in Beloit.


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