The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

OLIVER: Kenosha casino is about the bigger picture


First, it was two weeks ago, then sometime last week, now it’s a couple of months at best: the self-imposed deadlines for the Menominee Kenosha Casino debacle, set by Gov. Scott Walker, keep on changing.

Here’s why:

The decision doesn’t really need a deadline. The casino proposal is up in the air. A part of me thinks he is pushing it back because he realizes the benefits of another casino in the state. The rise in employment it’ll bring, as well as the revenue streams it could create can’t be discounted.

The harsh reality is there is no way the Potawatomi or Ho-Chunk tribes will give their approval and, without an unanimous yes, there is no way the casino will be built.

By continually pushing the deadline back, Walker hopes that an offering from the Menominee tribe will be enough to spark the interests of the unbudging Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk tribes. The area is ripe for competition, and the fears that either casino will lose revenue are unfounded.

The big problem is that the Menominee have little left to offer. 

According to a Journal Sentinel article, the Menominee already gave away the rights to ATM and cash advance services to the Oneida tribe for a minimum of seven years. The Oneida also have the opportunity to help finance “some or all of the $400 million financing expected to be needed for the first phase of the Kenosha project.” There is also a 15-year ban on advertising of the new casino north of Milwaukee on television and radio, and advertising in newspapers or billboards in the Green Bay-Appleton market. Finally, the casino is banned from mailing advertisements to residents north of Milwaukee.

These limitations were put in place to gain the approval of the Oneida tribe because they feared their casino would lose revenue.

To get the approval of the Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi nations, the Menominee tribe would most likely have to give up all of Milwaukee and the areas surrounding the Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton for many years. They would need to find something that the other tribes can have exclusive rights to, such as alcohol sales, restaurants or  profits. Finally they would need to let the tribes in on financing the second phase of construction. It almost feels like the Menominee won’t own any of their own casino if they can finally get approval.

The bottom line is the governor is putting off the decision because the casino would benefit the state more than it would hurt it. Unfortunately, two tribes are afraid of losing portions of their profits and therefore won’t give any sort of approval, even if it’s just partial.

The governor and the tribes need to come to a consensus. It’ll be a lot more than what the Menominee were already offering, and they are going to give up a significant portion of their casino for the time being.

However, looking at the big picture is more important in this case. They take minimal profits for the first 15 years, lose out on marketing to a potential one million residents and they pad the wallets of the Ho-Chunk, Oneida and Potawatomi tribes for a while. After those 15 years are up, the Menominee tribe will garner huge profits.

The Menominee and the state of Wisconsin are playing the slots. The Menominee are aiming for a 7,7,7 jackpot but the wheels keep coming up 7, bar, cherry.

The state, however, pulled the lever and is still waiting for the wheels to stop. When or if that happens – nobody knows.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *