HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 19Issue 28Plans for a Fruitport Township Casino Move on to Federal Review

Last Saturday, October 12, 2013, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (“Little River Band”), with the assistance of State Senator Geoff Hansen (R-Hart), announced that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has agreed to a waiver of certain rights held by the State which, in turn, will allow the plans for a proposed $100 Million casino development in Fruitport Township to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Little River Band purchased the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack in Muskegon County in July, 2008 and has since purchased additional parcels surrounding this site.  In accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Little River Band will need to have this land taken into trust by the Federal Government in order to develop a tribal casino there.

The Little River Band’s proposal will now be reviewed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”), a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.  This review, which will include, among other things, a study detailing the environmental impact that such a casino would have on the surrounding area, could take between 18 months and two years to complete. In addition to formal federal approvals, finalizing these plans will also require an amendment to the Little River Band’s tribal gaming compact with the State of Michigan allowing for this second casino site.  Legislation that would have amended the Little River Band’s compact to include the Fruitport Township casino stalled in the Legislature in 2010.

The Little River Band has already negotiated and signed local operating agreements with Fruitport Township and Muskegon County, which cover issues such as the provision of municipal services and cooperative law enforcement.  Local officials have said that there is strong local support for this casino development.

 

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