After receiving additional permission, the Ho-Chunk Nation has moved one step closer to securing the green light to construct a new casino property in Beloit city of Wisconsin.
The planned $400m+ organisation is to be situated in near proximity to the state boundary of the jurisdiction with Illinois, where the Rockford area is aiming to develop its own such complex with a 65,000 square for Hard Rock International casino project proceeding right across the frontier.
Speaking of their creation coming years after “pursuing the possibility of constructing a casino in Beloit,” Ho-Chunk received the go-ahead from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Having purchased the parcel of land 11 years ago, the next move is for Governor Tony Evers to sign the document in order to allow the property to be admitted into the trust.
No date has been set for this signing, although it has been noted that “Evers has stated in the past that he does support the project”.
Marlon WhiteEagle, Ho-Chunk president said: “The Ho-Chunk Nation’s 1992 gaming compact allows for a fourth gaming facility. We’ve purchased the land and applied for trust status (from the Bureau of Indian Affairs) on the Beloit property since 2012. The progress on the development of a fourth gaming site is a long time coming.”
The initial goal was to develop a casino, restaurant and hotel complex at Beloit, but no concrete plans were drawn up and the Ho-Chunk Nation will pursue all avenues of enterprise.
WhiteEagle added: “My office received a call from the Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tara Sweeney on Thursday afternoon telling me she’ll be sending a latter to Governor Evers. Once Governor Evers concurs a final decision will be made by the BIA to allow the Beloit project to proceed.
“If allowed, it will be a victory due in part to a lot of time, energy, money, hard work and determination of many, some who are no longer with us. Although we are amidst a public health pandemic the project continues to unfold.
“The real victory will be when the doors open, providing jobs, and see the positive economic impact within the local, state and tribal communities.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Ho-Chunk Nation to close all its casinos, and laid-off a significant number of employees. The project may be delayed until casinos reopen, due to the economic effect of the pandemic on the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Ho-Chunk, one of 11 federally recognised tribes in Wisconsin, also boasts gaming operations in Baraboo, Black River Falls, Nekoosa, Wittenberg, Tomah and Madison through its Ho-Chunk Gaming subsidiary.