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8:22 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Lansing plans $245 million downtown casino

Lansing, MI – The city of Lansing is announcing plans to build a 125,000 square foot casino in its downtown entertainment district. Officials are working with a branch of the Chippewa Indian Tribe to bring the venue to Lansing.

The Kewadin Lansing Casino, as the project is currently named, would be operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It's expected to bring 1,500 permanent jobs and some 700 construction jobs.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says the city would receive up to $6 million in annual revenues, which would be used to fund a four-year college scholarship program for Lansing school students. Bernero says the building would not have all the centralized amenities that are basic to most casinos to avoid competition with nearby vendors.

"We weren't interested in that kind of thing," Bernero says. "We wanted a casino that would be melded into the fabric of our downtown that would help to support local business and support the organic growth of businesses. So, there's no four or five star restaurant in the casino."

Meanwhile, the Saginaw Tribe of Chippewas is reportedly trying to block the project, saying the Sault branch is skirting laws on where Indian casinos may be built.