Romulus Indian Gaming News

From the Romulus Roman:

Romulus officials hope a year-long moratorium regarding the expansion of Indian gaming that was put into place by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs will be lifted, or at least more flexible, under a Barack Obama administration.

City officials met with a representative from the Hannahville Indians last week, and all involved said they felt they would receive more consideration for the tribal request to build a casino in Romulus.

“I think that once there’re more Democrats in Washington, and more people who are interested in helping Michigan, we will turn this around,” said Romulus Mayor Alan Lambert.

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Detroit Auto Bailout & Indian Gaming Proposals: A Link?

Congress effectively killed the various proposals brought by the State of Michigan, the Bay Mills Indian Community, and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to ratify off-reservation gaming agreements between the three and variously the Cities of Romulus, Flint, and Port Huron. But now that the Detroit auto makers are in the very ugly throes of near-bankruptcy, and with Congress seemingly ready to let the Big Three die, maybe the off-reservation gaming proposals will have new legs in the 111th Congress?

Several questions need answering. First, how will the Obama Administration view Indian gaming, especially off-reservation? I wonder, given that the Administration doesn’t have much to gain politically by supporting tribal gaming, but might have much to lose. Tribes need to make the Obama Administration realize the benefits of off-reservation. Second, how will off-reservation gaming in southeastern Michigan help local economies? Again, tribes need to make a strong case, and it may be the same case made to answer the first question.

Romulus Casino Talk

From Indianz:

Officials in Romulus, Michigan, are still interested in hosting off-reservation casinos even after Congress killed a bill to authorize two tribal facilities.

Officials plan to meet with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to discuss reviving the casino. A deal with the Hannahville Indian Community could be in the works too. With Congress looking at ways to bail out the auto industry in Michigan and considering economic packages, officials say now is a good time to think about the casinos again.

Get the Story:
Romulus casinos are still a possibility (The Journal Newspapers 11/20)

BMIC & Sault Tribe Gaming Bill Heads to House Floor

Never mind the Senate, this one’s going to be ugly. I wonder how many times Abramoff’s name gets mentioned. Here’s the report from The Hill:

House Democratic leaders have brokered a deal to bring to the floor next week a contentious Indian gaming bill that has pitted two powerful Democratic committee chairmen against one another.

For months, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) have been clashing over two bills that would settle tribal land disputes and allow two new Indian casinos to be built near Detroit. Next week, they will settle their differences on the House floor.

The deal would allow the two tribal land dispute bills that Dingell supports to be voted on on the floor, but would also give Conyers an amendment, according to sources tracking the measures. The amendment apparently would direct the Department of Justice (DoJ) and possibly the Department of the Interior to review the land claims — a difficult and likely unsuccessful process Dingell and other supporters have attempted to avoid by seeking congressional approval of the legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are in a politically difficult spot.

They have decided to allot precious floor time for measures that will pave the way for Indian casinos during the first election year after the fall of Jack Abramoff, whose lobbying practices involving tribes and gambling helped propel Democrats into power in 2006.

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News Coverage of BMIC/Sault Tribe Off-Rez Gaming Bills

From the Detroit Free Press:

WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee is set to work on a couple of bills on Wednesday that would allow for two new Indian casinos in Michigan – even though another committee has already approved them.

It could set up an interesting jurisdictional question for the House.
A couple months ago, the Natural Resources Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the two pieces of legislation, which would authorize land swaps with two tribes, resulting in new casinos in Romulus and Port Huron. That vote was expected to send the bills to the House floor.

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House Judiciary Committee Hearing re: BMIC & Sault Tribe Bills — Witness List and Testimony

From the House Judiciary Committee website:

The Honorable Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
U.S. House of Representatives
Michigan, 13th District

Chief Fred Cantu
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan

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House Hearing on Bay Mills/Sault Tribe Off-Rez Gaming

From Indianz:

Not sure what it means below that Alicia Walker is chair at Sault Tribe….

The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this morning on two off-reservation casino bills.

H.R. 2176 and H.R. 4115 settle land claims for the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The tribes would be able to open casinos on sites hundreds of miles away from their existing reservations. The bills have been approved by the House Natural Resources Committee. But Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), the chairman of the Judiciary committee, opposes the measures. The hearing takes place at 10am and will be broadcast at

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Jeff Parker in Business Week re: Metro Detroit Casino Proposals

From Business Week:

MGM Mirage’s Hidden Card

The flyers mailed to homes across Michigan in late January looked like the handiwork of a group bitterly opposed to gambling. They pictured dice emblazoned with exclamation marks, piles of crumpled-up cash, and text blaring: “Washington Poised to Force Two New Casinos on Michigan Families. Only You Can Stop the Special Interests.” The outfit behind this grassroots campaign calls itself Gambling Watch.

As it turns out, Gambling Watch is a tiny operation financed by MGM Mirage (MGM), one of the world’s largest gaming companies. MGM is locked in a bitter dispute with two Native American tribes that hope to open casinos in Michigan. The Las Vegas company inaugurated a new $800 million casino in downtown Detroit in October and is not in the mood for competition. There’s nothing underhanded about its tactics, MGM says. “We’ve made no secret of where we are on this,” says Alan Feldman, senior vice-president for public affairs at MGM Mirage.

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Freep Opposes Bay Mills and Sault Tribe Bills

From the Detroit Free Press:

Say no to a bad precedent on casinos

Among John Engler’s last acts as governor of Michigan — on Dec. 30, 2002, to be precise — was approving a land claim settlement with two Upper Peninsula Indian tribes that gave them rights to property for two separate casinos in southeast Michigan. The settlement was long overdue, but the terms Engler allowed were way too generous to the tribes.

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Granholm Cuts New Deal on Port Huron Casino

I read this just after I assign my students a project to assess the Port Huron deal….

From the Port Huron Times Herald:

Gambling on Port Huron
Granholm’s support improves the odds for a riverfront casino

The long-stalled effort to open an Indian-owned casino in Port Huron has received a major boost from Michigan’s governor, who has thrown her support behind the project.

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