Madison – Governor Scott Walker today (Friday) released the following letter regarding the Kenosha casino project:
Three criteria for approving a new casino in Wisconsin were announced at a meeting of all of the tribal governments in 2011. On Wednesday and Thursday, I explained the first two criteria. Today, I would like to share information about my third criteria: no new net gaming.
In 1993, the voters of the state approved advisory referendum questions that called for limiting gambling in our state. Since no other referendum question has been presented to the voters since then, I set criteria respecting the will of the people in that vote.
The information submitted to me by the Menominee contends that they meet the criteria because "the Kenosha project replaces a long-shuttered greyhound track and one existing casino will close resulting in no new net gaming in the state."
According to their plan, the casino would be built at the site of the Dairyland Greyhound Track in Kenosha, and the Menominee will also close one of their two existing facilities in conjunction with the opening of the Kenosha project.
A review of the revenues at the Dairyland Greyhound Park found that in 2002, at its peak, it had revenues of $20,020,064. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $25,928,938 today.
The casino currently operated by the Menominee on their reservation land, which has been identified for potential closure pending the opening of the proposed Kenosha casino, is described by the tribe as being a "mini casino…with approximately 30 slot machines."
In the Menominee's proposal under the section entitled, "Project Viability: Customer Origin," it states the revenue totals for the new casino would be $454,052,349. The project proposal also outlines that the proposed casino would hold 3,100 slot machines and 75 table games.
One of the issues we are weighing is whether or not replacing a dog track with revenues of $20-25 million and closing a casino with 30 slot machines to open a casino generating an estimated $454 million in revenue and 3,100 slot machines represents an increase in net gambling. Do these two smaller operations actually offset the increase in gambling in the much larger proposed casino?
Thank you for taking the time to read this latest update on the information I am reviewing as I make a decision on the proposed casino in Kenosha.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker is questioning whether the opening of a new casino in Kenosha would meet his requirement that there be no new net gambling in the state.
The Menominee tribe argues there would be no increase because it plans to close a small casino on reservation land and the new one would be located at the closed Dairyland Greyhound Park.
Walker emphasizes in a statement Friday that the new casino is projected to generate about $454 million a year and have 3,100 slot machines. Dairyland made about $20 million annually at its height and the reservation casino has only 30 slot machines.
Walker asks, "Do these two smaller operations actually offset the increase in gambling in the much larger proposed casino?"
Walker's decision is expected next week.