From the Grand Rapids Press:
WAYLAND TOWNSHIP — Local and state officials today are seeing their first big revenue-sharing payout from the opening of the Gun Lake Casino.
Casino officials today were to announce a payment of $515,871 for local governments and $2.1 million for the state from February and March, the first two months of operation.
“Many years ago, we made a commitment to our neighbors to provide funds to help build a better community,” Gun Lake Tribe Chairman D.K. Sprague said. “Today, we have followed through on our commitment, and that marks another important milestone in our shared progress.”
Here are the materials in Fort Independence Indian Community v. California (E.D. Cal.):
California Motion for Summary J
Fort Independence Motion for Summary J
California Response Brief
Fort Independence Response Brief
California Reply Brief
Fort Independence Reply Brief
Fort Independence DCT Opinion
An excerpt, listing the issues decided and the remaining issue:
The court grants summary adjudication as to the following issues:
* The State’s proposal comport with 25 U.S.C. section 2710(d)(3)(C)
* Forfeiture of the right to receive RSTF payments is not a tax, fee, charge, or assessment.
* The offer of permission to conduct Class III gaming is not a “concession.”
* The offer of exclusivity is a concession.
A material question exists as to whether the concession of exclusivity is meaningful. The matter will proceed for resolution of this issue.
The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians Indians signed an amended Class III gaming compact with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).
The new agreement lowers the tribe’s revenue-sharing rate. In 2009 and 2010, the tribe will share 4 percent of slot machine profits from the FireKeepers Casino with the state, down from 8 percent in the original compact.
In 2011, the tribe will share 4 percent of slot profits under $100 million and 6 percent of slot profits over $100 million. Starting in 2012, the rate will based on a sliding scale, with payments not to exceed 8 percent of slot profits.
Despite the lower rate, the tribe will continue to share 2 percent with local communities. The amended compact restructures the Local Revenue Sharing Board, expanding it from three to six members.
“The amended compact will help create new jobs, new economic opportunities and new revenues for the tribe, local community and the state,” Chairwoman Laura Spurr said in a press release.
The tribe and the state already submitted the amended compact to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They said the agreement was approved and will become effective once a notice is published in the Federal Register.
The changes bring the Nottawaseppi Huron agreement in line with other tribal-state gaming compacts.
“The release of $6.2 million in revenue sharing from the Four Winds Casino to local governmental units this month was welcome news. The schools, libraries, New Buffalo township and city, Berrien County, as well as the state of Michigan, sorely need the funds that had been accruing since the Pokagon band of the Potawatomi Indians opened the New Buffalo casino in 2007. This first revenue sharing payment was nearly a year and a half overdue. Meanwhile, the entities kept anteing up services, including police protection and road work, to support the gaming operation. This month’s distribution of funds ought to be the start of something good for both the Pokagons and the community. The cash-strapped governmental units should now receive an annual infusion of money to provide needed services. And those entities that helped establish the Four Winds will have good reason to support the Pokagons’ enterprise. ”
Get the Story:
Editorial: Governmental units win with casino payout (The South Bend Tribune 5/19)
From Michigan City News Dispatch:
NEW BUFFALO, Mich. – The last position on the Local Revenue Sharing Board has been filled, moving it closer to being able to distribute some $5 million in Four Winds casino money to local units of government and schools.
Chikaming Township Supervisor Jeanne Dudeck has been appointed as the fifth member of the board. Representatives from eight local governments and school districts in southern Berrien County chose Dudek on a 5-to-3 vote in a meeting Wednesday at the New Buffalo Township Hall. They voted unanimously to make the fifth LRSB seat a rotating two-year position.
A lawsuit over the distribution of gaming revenues from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians will continue but the parties reached an agreement over payments for this year.
The tribe shares 2 percent of electronic gaming revenues from the Odawa Casino Resort with local communities. The Emmet County Local Revenue Sharing Board decides how to distribute the funds. Three educational institutions are suing the board over the distribution formula, saying they are entitled to a larger share. The tribe is not a party in the lawsuit.
Get the Story:
Agreement reached to delay casino revenue-sharing payments (The Petoskey News-Review 11/19)
Available here and here.
Here are the amendment “highlights“:
From the Business Review Western Michigan:
Amendments to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’s gaming compact will give the state an immediate $15 million and give the tribe the right to open limited satellite casinos in Hartford and Dowagiac, Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s office announced today.
The amended compact resolves issues between the state of Michigan and the tribe that led to the Pokagon Band’s withholding revenue-sharing payments to the state for most of the 14 months its Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo Township has been open.
The band contended the state’s Club Keno game eliminated the tribe’s exclusive rights to operate electronic games of chance. The exclusivity provision was deleted from the amended compact. As a result of this change, the band immediately will make an initial annual payment of more than $15 million to the state.
Similar disputes between the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians were resolved earlier this year. Amendments to compacts do not require approval of the state legislature.
The amendments to the 1998 compact extend the life of the compact from 2018 to 2028, to ensure a full 20 years, as the original compact intended, according to the joint announcement. A series of lawsuits delayed the casino’s opening to August 2008.
From the South Bend Tribune:
NEW BUFFALO — For the state of Michigan and local municipalities, the tribal Four Winds Casino Resort that opened a year ago in New Buffalo Township has a lot in common with the 1996 Tom Cruise movie “Jerry Maguire.”
Like the movie’s tag line, they’d like the casino to “show me the money.”
Certainly, the casino has been successful, earning an average of $24.4 million a month over its first eight months just on slot-machine revenue. But the state’s 8 percent share of those revenues and the local communities’ 2 percent share that were specified in the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ 1998 gaming compact have yet to be paid.And the payments, placed in interest-bearing escrow accounts, are sizable, amounting to $15.6 million for the state and $3.9 million for Berrien County, New Buffalo Township and the city of New Buffalo.
Essentially, the Dowagiac-based tribe’s stance, like that of other Michigan tribes with casinos, is that the Michigan Lottery’s Club Keno game introduced in 2003 violated their compacts’ exclusivity agreements. Two of the tribes sued the state, and although the Pokagons weren’t involved, they chose to withhold payment until the issue was resolved.