Wisconsin Casino Vote Delayed Until 2024

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A person waves a Wisconsin flag in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

A deal between Kenosha County and the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin is not dead, but it is on hold.

The Kenosha County Board has decided to delay the decision on whether to approve an agreement with the Menominee Tribe for a proposed casino until January 16th of next year. The addition of the casino into Winsconsin’s gambling picture was voted by the board (13-7) and now the formal consideration of the agreement has been postponed. Members say they need more time and information to vet the deal.

The agreement pledges more than $80 million in revenue sharing from gaming proceeds and other contributions to help offset the costs of public safety, social services, and other economic expenses the county endures over the next 20 years. As officials deliberate, the impact on local revenue and economic factors is crucial, making it a subject of interest even for offshore sportsbooks.

What Does the Wisconsin Casino Plan Entail?

The Menominee Tribe plans to build a $360 million casino complex that would include a hotel, restaurants, and an entertainment venue with developer Hard Rock International on 60 acres just west of Interstate 94. The tribe is calling on both the city and county to agree that the land proposed for the casino be placed in federal trust, removing it from local taxing jurisdiction.

David Geertsen, a retired county finance director, proposed the deal to ensure transparency. Geertsen told the Kenosha News, “This is a big deal and we need to know, working cooperatively with the city, whether the city wants this business and they postponed this … before we take this up.”

This decision provides the board and the public with a two-month window to thoroughly examine the agreement.

“In the meetings I’ve been in, and I’ve been at every casino meeting, the majority of the opposition I’m seeing coming from this board is for more information,” Geertsen said. “This will get us two months —almost two months— to get all that information. If supervisors are serious about that they will be able to get the information and will be able to make a decision.”

Hard Rock and Tribe Members Absent From Vote

Representatives of the tribe and their casino partner, Hard Rock International, were noticeably absent from the meeting. This absence might be linked to the city council’s recent decision to postpone reviewing the city’s agreement with the tribe until the first council meeting in January. The city agreement had undergone some last-minute changes, described by the mayor as minor.

The tribe hoped to secure approval from both the city and county before the year’s end. Apart from the local agreements, the Menominees would also require approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers.

What Will the Proposed Casino Offer?

The 60-acre site is planned to host a 70,000-square-foot casino featuring 1,500 slots and 55 gaming tables, along with supporting facilities. Additionally, there will be 25,000 square feet allocated for administration purposes and 28,800 square feet dedicated to food and beverage services. The dining options will include a Hard Rock Cafe, a marketplace, a buffet, a steakhouse, an Asian restaurant, and more.

Now They’ll Wait for the Vote in Wisconsin

So, now the wait is on. Board members will revisit the plan in mid-January and Bookmakers Review will monitor the situation when it happens.

We’ll provide updates on the vote when it does finally take place.