Published On: Fri, Apr 21st, 2017

Tribe Moves to Court, Seeks to Block Casino Expansion

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PrintThe state of Wisconsin is facing a lawsuit from the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe along with the Ho-Chunk Nation. The case is that the casino expansion in Wittenburg is violating their interests.

 

The Stockbridge-Munsee tribe has threatened to hold off nearly $1 million to the state owing to a dispute that involves another tribe that is now planning an expansion in the Shawano County. The tribe in question is part of the Ho-Chunk Nation. The tribe is on a path of expansion and is moving forward in expanding what was a once a limited operation in the east of Wausau.

 

The lawsuit has asked the judge to order an injunction to block the project from going forward. The Ho-Chunk Casino expansion needs to be put on hold till the lawsuit is resolved. This lawsuit is the most recent escalation which began in 2003. The facility at Wittenburg was not allowed to have a restaurant, hotel or even table games till the Tribal Gaming Compacts were renegotiated.

 

Remedies

 

The lawsuit is intended to seek solutions to the dispute more than just withholding money or simply attempting to strong arm the state. Of the options that are open to the state in this regard, the clear one is to declare that the state has violated the ‘Stockbridge-Munsee Compact’. The violation, according to the complainant, is that the neighboring tribe has been given clearance to build a class III casino right next to their only gambling facility in the region. That is in violation of the agreement between Stockbridge-Munsee and the state of Wisconsin where the ‘interests and rights’ of the tribe are not protected.

 

Late last year, the Ho-Chunk started an expansion to the tune of $33 million, which will increase the number of active slot machines from 506 to 778. Along with this expansion, the casino is also prepping for an exclusive high rollers area with 10 tables. An 86-roomed hotel with a restaurant that can seat 84 is also in the works. All of this will be completed by the end of this year, according to a statement put out by Ho-Chunk.

 

The facility at Wittenburg is actually closer to Wausau than the only casino that is controlled by the Stockbridge-Munsee- the North Star Mohican Casino Resort. The competition that they will face, they fear, will have a detrimental effect on their business as the newer resort will naturally attract more customers than their older ones.

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