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January 23, 2012

The Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians are seeking federal approval to build a new casino. However, the proposal has stirred opposition.

The tribe is proposing a gaming facility named Kewadin Lansing. The project will cost an estimated $245 million. If the project is approved, it will be the 27th casino in the state. The casino is planned to be 125,000 square feet with 48 table games and 3,000 slot machines. There are also plans for restaurants and bars. It is estimated that the casino would earn $250 million a year. Plans also include the hiring of 2,200 workers.

This will be an off reservation casino that will be built on city land that the tribe is trying to purchase. After the property is sold, the tribe will ask for the land to go into trust. This would make the land tribal land under law and is allowed under the federal Land Claims Act.

Groups opposed to the casino plan state there are too many casinos in the state now. They believe another casino would flood the gaming market. Additionally a representative of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan had written a letter to the governor stating the land claims act was not written to allow for off reservation casinos.

The Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa previously operated Detroit's Greektown Casino Hotel. However, it went into bankruptcy. Currently the tribe operates five other casinos on tribal land in Upper Peninsula.

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