Beloit’s casino is one step closer to reality

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) -The Ho-Chunk Nation’s Beloit Casino is taking another step forward after receiving approval from Governor Tony Evers.

Evers announced Wednesday he concurred with the U.S. Department of Interior’s 2020 decision on taking 33-acres of land into trust to develop the casino.

The land trust is part of a nearly 74-acre site, located just north of the Illinois border, that would be transformed into a casino-resort complex. Officials say it would also create more than 1,500 long-term jobs and more than 2,000 construction jobs.

“As we work to bounce back from this pandemic, we must do everything we can to support economic development in communities across our state,” says Evers.

Ryan Greendeer, a spokesperson for the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature, said, “We’re trying to build our economy, and this is going to be the cornerstone of the economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Local officials said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that Beloit city and Rock Co. entered a revenue sharing agreement with the tribe.

“We don’t have hard numbers on what that revenue stream will be,” city manager Lori Curtis Luther said. “It will be 2 percent of the net win at the casino proper once it is fully developed. We know it will be a sizable revenue stream.”

That 2 percent, she said, will split 7 to 3 to the city and county. As for just how much that’ll mean, Greendeer said the Ho-Chunk Nation will keep revenue numbers confidential.

Greendeer also shared, the state’s revenue numbers are “currently being negotiated” as part of a gaming compact with the nation.

The proposal moves on to the next stages of the approval process.

The Department of Interior needs to issue its final determination on taking the land into trust. Governor Evers and the Ho-Chunk Nation will then need to complete an amendment to the Nation’s gaming compact to address the new casino and other issues.

“We look forward to the day when we can celebrate everybody who is helping this project along,” says Ho-Chunk Nation Vice President Karena Thundercloud.

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