Ho-Chunk Tribal Casino Resort in Beloit Moves Forward, Wisconsin Governor-Elect Supports $405M Project

Posted on: November 12, 2018, 08:42h. 

Last updated on: November 12, 2018, 08:42h.

A tribal casino planned for Beloit, Wisconsin, by the Ho-Chunk Indians is closer to receiving full authorization from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

tribal casino Wisconsin Ho-Chunk
Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland says another tribal casino is coming to Wisconsin. (Image: Native Report/Ho-Chunk Nation/Casino.org)

Late last week, the City of Beloit announced that the $405 million Native American casino resort is making progress on the federal level. Town officials say the development will soon be included in the BIA federal registry, and a public input hearing is scheduled for December 11.

The City of Beloit is thrilled that the casino project is advancing forward at the federal level. We’re hopeful that it can now move more quickly through the final approval process to provide 1,500 jobs and to bring countless visitors to the Greater Beloit area,” city spokeswoman Lori Curtis Luther said.

The Ho-Chunk Nation is one of 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin. It has more than 8,000 acres of land in the federal trust in varying counties across the state.

The Beloit casino will be the tribe’s seventh to go along with properties in Black River Falls, Madison, Nekoosa, Tomah, Wisconsin Dells, and Wittenberg.

Governor-Elect Supports Casino

Last week, Democrat Tony Evers beat Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) to become the state’s governor-elect. And for the Ho-Chunk Nation, that means they have little to worry about amending their gaming compact with the state.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, federally recognized tribes can operate Class I and II gaming on lands that have been taken into trust. However, for the all-important Class III gaming, which includes slot machines and most table games, tribes must reach gaming compacts with their respective states.

“I would sign that agreement,” Evers told the Beloit Daily News earlier this year. Ho-Chunk shares 5.5 percent of its net win with the state.

Along with the casino floor’s 2,200 slot machines, plans for the Ho-Chunk resort in Beloit call for a hotel tower with 300 rooms, 40,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, five restaurants, retail shopping, concert venue, and conference space.

Beloit is just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois border, and less than two hours from Chicago.

Tribal Expansion

Wisconsin doesn’t have commercial casinos, but its Native American gaming facilities are widespread and becoming increasingly saturated. There are nearly two-dozen tribal casinos presently in the state.

The Beloit casino will become the second largest gaming resort in Wisconsin behind the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, which has 2,500 slot machines and 100 table games.

Native American casinos continue to win large sums of cash. A report released last week by the American Gaming Association revealed that tribal venues account for 43.5 percent of the entire US gaming market.

Roughly 500 Native American casino resorts employed 676,428 workers in 2016, and they were paid in excess of $36 billion. Additionally, the tribal venues contributed $15.2 billion in local, state, and federal taxes.

Wisconsin casinos employed over 26,800 workers, and the gaming segment contributed more than $446 million in taxes.