Interior Dept. Blocks Application for Downtown Lansing Casino

Jul 27, 2017

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero expressed disappointment that the U.S. Department of Interior denied an application to an Indian tribe seeking to build a $125 million casino in downtown Lansing. 


The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wanted to build a 125,000 square foot casino.

WKAR covered the announcement in 2012 for the Kewadin Lansing Casino. 

The proposal for the casino promised 700 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs would come to Lansing. 

Mayor Bernero pledged $6 million in city revenues from the casino would help fund scholarships for Lansing public school students.

In reaction to the department's decision, Mayor Bernero issued this statement: 

“The Interior Department’s decision to deny the Sault Tribe’s trust application is very disappointing, but we stand strong with our tribal partners and will continue the fight to bring a casino to downtown Lansing. It is clear that the Tribe and the city would derive tremendous benefits from opening a casino in Lansing. The revenues generated by such a facility would provide critical resources and services for the Tribe and its members, as well as fully funding the Lansing Promise scholarship program that would provide four years of free college tuition to Lansing’s children. We knew from the beginning this process would be long and arduous and we look forward to the next steps toward bringing the benefits of a casino to the Tribe and the city.” 

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe said it is not giving up on the project and issued this statement:

“We are deeply disappointed in the U.S. DOI’s decision to deny our mandatory trust land petitions for Lansing and Romulus, largely because it is based on a flawed legal analysis and because our Land Claims Settlement Act approved by the Congress of the United States in 1997 clearly requires that the applications be approved. We have no intention of giving up, and we will soon determine which option — legal, administrative or legislative — we will pursue to continue our fight for our legal rights. The law is clear: the Secretary is required to accept these parcels in trust. It is a clear, plain-language legal argument. Our Tribe is within federal law and our legal rights to pursue these opportunities to create thousands of new jobs and generate millions of dollars in new revenues that will enhance our tribal land base and benefit our members, the people of Lansing, public school students in Lansing, the people of Huron Township, and the entire state.”