LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder has declined to concur with a proposal for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to relocate one of its casinos to the former Marquette County Airport.
The KBIC proposed closing its casino in Chocolay Township and opening a larger casino at the airport site. The main KBIC casino is located in Baraga.
The U.S. Department of the Interior reviewed the proposal for the federal government and approved the relocation, subject to concurrence from the governor.
The governor indicated that he was open to the relocation as part of a broader agreement between the tribe and the state. Potential points for such an agreement included:
Allowing local governments to have some say in the disposition of the 2 percent local casino revenue sharing payments
The tribe entering into an agreement requiring the tribal businesses to collect tax on transactions with non-Native Americans
Working out a revised revenue sharing agreement so the tribe would continue to make some level of payments to the state, even if future gaming competition develops elsewhere in the state. Currently, the KBIC is the only tribe with gaming operations in the state that has an agreement that would stop revenue payments if state-authorized gaming was expanded in Michigan.
Despite invitations from the governor’s office, the tribe declined to take part in discussions about a potential agreement.
Today was the deadline for the governor to act on the proposal. The governor’s office has notified the tribe and the U.S. Department of the Interior that he was declining to concur with the relocation proposal. Under the established procedures, the tribe may resubmit its proposal.