The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced today it is seeking land in locations near downtown Lansing and near Detroit Metropolitan Airport with expectations of building gambling facilities, according to an Associated Press report.
The Tribe of Chippewa Indians filed applications with the U.S. Department of the Interior to take the land into trust, the report said.
An economic impact study will determine the scope of the gambling project targeted for 71 acres just south of the airport.
Casino project could generate money that may offer services for tribal members in the Detroit area.
Aaron Payment, a spokesman for the Sault Tribe, was quoted by the AP as saying the group is within federal law and its legal rights to pursue the opportunities afforded by the projects to create thousands of new jobs and generate millions of dollars in revenues that will benefit its members, as well as the entire state.
In response to the announcement, a press release was issued by a spokesman for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
Opposing view says the off-reservation casinos in Detroit and Lansing will cause great harm the State of Michigan.
According to James Nye, a spokesman for the Potawatomi and Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, not only does this proposal violate the tribal-state gaming compacts, but also would blow a hole in Detroit’s bankruptcy plan.
“It is ironic that the Sault Tribe once built a casino in Detroit to help the City,” Nye said. “After losing that casino in bankruptcy it wants to build a new one that will cripple the city.”
Nye said the gaming compacts require a written agreement between all of the tribes before this move can be made and said the Sault Tribe has ignored agreements it signed.
Nye said the state would lose more than $30 million each year as nearby tribes’ compacts would be violated, thus ceasing state payments.
“The public needs to know that the Sault Tribe has argued that it can open as many casinos as it wants to with no numerical or geographic limitations,” Nye said. “We believe the U.S. Department of Interior will reject the tribe’s preposterous arguments, much like it did to the Bay Mills Tribe.”