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BIA nixes LDF Chippewa casino plan; Kenosha, Beloit bids still pending

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (AP) 1-08

An application to develop an off-reservation casino in southwestern Wisconsin’s Lafayette County was rejected by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, a newspaper reports.

But no action was taken on two other major Wisconsin proposals for tribal casinos, one at Kenosha and the other at Beloit, BIA spokesman Shane Wolfe told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and those applications remain pending.

 

Among 11 applications turned down by Carl Artman, who heads the BIA, was a 6-year-old effort of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa band to open a casino in Shullsburg in Lafayette County, the newspaper reported on its Internet Web.

The decision came as the BIA announced tighter guidelines for approval of off-reservation gambling operations.

Casinos built outside of reservations require approval of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the parent agency of the BIA, and the state’s governor.

Under the new guidelines, the farther a casino is from a reservation, the more weight must be given to “state and local concerns,” including impacts on tax rolls and on reservation life.

Artman noted in a four-page letter to Lac du Flambeau President Victoria Doud that the proposed Shullsburg casino would be more than 300 miles away from the home base of the tribe in northern Wisconsin.

“The Department is concerned that approval of this application would not support the option for tribal members to live on their existing reservation and to have meaningful employment opportunities at the proposed gaming establishment,” Artman wrote.

Wolfe refused to say why the BIA took no action on the proposed $808 million casino for Dairyland Greyhound Park at Kenosha or on the proposal of two Chippewa bands to open the $200 million Beloit casino.

The St. Croix Chippewa is leading the Beloit effort and has sued the BIA, alleging the rules are being changed to ease the process of denying applications.

Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for the Menominee tribe’s Kenosha project, said the proposal was solid even though it would be about 200 miles away from the tribe’s reservation.

“We believe we have a very strong and unique application,” Zeppos said.

 

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