Nation | Tribe: Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
PROPOSED CASINO IN MUSKEGON COUNTY
Ellis Road (near I-96 and U.S. 31)
Muskegon County, Michigan
The proposed casino in Muskegon County, MI will be named Lakeshore Casino and Resort. If approved, the casino will be built for $180M and feature 1,700 slot machines, 35 table games and a 220-room hotel.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians plan to build the new casino resort on 60 acres in Fruitport Township near the Lakes Mall. The location is near Harvey Street and Hile Road at the former site of the Great Lakes Downs racetrack. The racetrack was closed in 2007 and demolished in 2008. The Little River Band purchased the vacant land a few years afterwards.
The Lakeshore Casino Resort in Muskegon County will be the second casino owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. The tribe also owns Little River Casino in Manistee, Michigan.
In February 2015 the tribe filed its application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take the land into federal trust for their proposed casino. This is an initial step in the long process towards full and final approval by the federal, state and local governements.
In October 2020 the Bureau of Indian Affairs published a Final Environmental Impact Statement for public review and comments. After receiving and reviewing the public comments, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs gave federal approval to the casino project last year. See details
The Muskegon County casino received federal approval in December 2020. The final step is the approval by the governor and the state legislature. So far Gov. Whitmer has taken no action. She has a deadline of December 16th to sign off on the casino or let the project die.
With state approval the Muskegon casino hotel can be built and operating within two years after groundbreaking.
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November 10, 2021
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians held a rally Friday to urge Gov. Whitmer to give final approval to the tribe's casino and hotel plans in Muskegon County. The governor has a deadline of Dec. 16th to give approval for the casino or else the project will end.
The rally was held at the Muskegon Museum of Art to support the final approval of a 12-year effort to bring a casino to Muskegon County. The event was attended by local lawmakers, tribal leaders, union representatives and county supporters.
May 19, 2021
For the past 12 years the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians has sought approval to build a $180 million casino and hotel in Muskegon County. The project has federal approval and state approval is pending.
Tribal Ogema Larry Romanelli told reporters: "Behind the scenes, there's been constant work on this. The tribe has invested a lot of money on this, millions of dollars, and we're now at I'd say the three yard line."
Construction of the casino can begin soon after sign-off by the governor and confirmation by the legislature. It will take about 2 years to complete the Muskegon casino and hotel.
March 26, 2021
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is seeking a gaming compact with Gov. Whitmer defining the number and types of casino games allowed for the proposed Lakeshore Casino and Resort project in Muskegon County. The agreement would also define tax revenues and must be approved by the Michigan legislature.
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) granted federal approval for building the casino last December. The tribe wants a gaming compact for the Lakeshore Casino project prior to construction.
The $180 million casino will feature a 69,000-square-foot of gaming floor with 1,700 slot machines and 35 table games. The property will also include a 220-room hotel with conference space and meeting rooms.
January 8, 2021
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians received approval last month from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to build a casino in Muskegon County, Michigan. The location is the former Great Lakes Downs in Fruitport Township.
The plan to build a casino in Muskegon County began 12 years and the tribe's application for federal approval began 5 years ago. The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is now authorized to build a Class II Indian gaming casino where players win against other players, however the tribe will now seek state approval for Class III gaming with Vegas-style games.
The tribe will now seek a gaming compact with the governor to allow Class III games. If successful, the agreement must be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
November 15, 2020
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is seeking approvals to build a casino hotel on a 60-acre site of the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack in Fruitport Township. The casino will 69,000 square feet and feature 1,700 slot machines and 35 table games. The hotel will offer 220 guest rooms.
The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs is finalizings its review and evaluation of the casino project for a final decision by the U.S. Department of Interior.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians own the Little River Casino Resort located near Manistee about 95 miles north of Muskegon.
October 24, 2020
In 2015 the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians applied to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for approval to build a new casino near Muskegon, Michigan. If approved, the proposed Lakeshore Casino and Resort will be built on a former racetrack site in Fruitport Township.
Last week the tribe was notified by the BIA that a Final Environmental Impact Statement has been completed and will be published for public review and comments. After a receiving public comments, a federal decision will be made on whether or not to approve the casino project.
If approved, the U.S. Interior Department will transfer the casino land into federal trust for the purpose of giving the tribe sovereignty over the site for the purpose of gambling. The Little River Band would then negotiate a gaming compact with the State of Michigan to define the number and type of casino games and the percentage of revenue to be paid to the state.
March 17, 2019
Courtesy of ABC13 wzzm13.com
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians have sought to build a casino in Fruitport Township of Muskegon County. The federal government is currently reviewing their application.
Three Michigan tribes feel threatened by the economic impact of a new casino on their casinos and have fighting to stop construction. These tribes are Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi in Battle Creek, Saginaw Chippewa Indians in Mount Pleasant, and Gun Lake tribes in Wayland Township.
December 08, 2018
A public hearing has been scheduled for the proposed casino that would be built in Fruitport Township.
On Wednesday the hearing will be held by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The public is invited to attend.
The proposed casino would be located at the former Great Lakes Downs. It would be owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. In 2008 the tribe purchased the property. They want to create a 69,000 square foot casino that would offer 35 table games, and 1,700 slot machines. Plans also include a hotel with 220 guest rooms. The price for the project would be $180 million.
If approved, the casino could open in 2020. 1,200 new jobs would be created by the casino project.
February 24, 2015
An application was submitted on Monday to the Bureau of Indian Affairs by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. The application is to take land into trust for a future tribal casino.
The property is located in Fruitport Township on 60 acres at the Great Lakes Downs racetrack. The tribe purchased the property in 2008.
The tribe believes that if the proposed casino is developed, it would help fund more tribal services for their people. The project would also help the local economy with the creation of new jobs.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a waiver in 2013 that allowed for a federal review to proceed. The review would analyze the plans for the proposed plan. However, the current compact with the state would need to be changed. The change would need to be approved by both the legislature and the governor.
The casino would be 69,000 square feet. 35 table games and 1,700 slot machines would be operated. There are also plans for a hotel with 220 guest rooms. An entertainment venue and dining. As well as meeting and conference space.
The proposed project would cost $180 million. Muskegon County potentially could have over 1,200 jobs created.
September 08, 2008
MUSKEGON, MI - Speculation about a new casino grew last week when the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians purchased 93 acres in Fruitport Township less than 10 miles from downtown Muskegon. This follows the tribe's purchase in July of the Great Lakes Downs followed the next day by another purchase of 53 acres across the street from the racetrack.
The new acreage was purchased for $4.074 million. It fronts Sternberg Road and lies southeast of the 53-acre parcel connecting at one corner.
"We are currently going through the steps to explore establishing a casino on the property but are examining a number of development options as well," said tribal Public Affairs Director Glenn Zaring.
The Muskegon Chronicle has reported that tribal officials are talking with Fruitport Township about developing 40-50 acres for a casino and possibly a hotel.
Zaring added, "The actual economic impact would be much larger when you consider our support of local suppliers, contractors and vendors, payroll, services etc. That doesn't even include any development on the property beyond the casino. This could include restaurants, shopping, lodging, etc., all of which would be fee-simple, so they'd be positively contributing to the tax base."
The "fee-simple" reference means the land outside the casino resort area would be held as taxable property instead of tax-exempt tribal land.
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