2011 and Earlier / News

Casinos fine ­ — to a point

We agree with a law professor who opined upon hearing that an established Indian Tribe was seeking permission to open a casino in Lansing that the whole specter could create a backlash against Indian gaming extending to Washington.

Certainly another casino would thin the profits of existing casinos, but perhaps its biggest impact would be to open to debate the question of why Indian tribes representing one group of peoples have a monopoly to run very lucrative businesses in all of Michigan outside of Detroit. With so much money on the line, it could stir up a host of competitors with deep pockets to lobby. They would be eager for a piece of the gaming pie.

Of course, that’s why the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians joined with Lansing mayor Virg Bernero in plotting and promoting the casino. Gaming is big business to a point, and they believe the Michigan market with 25 casinos has not reached saturation. The Sault tribe runs Kewadin casinos.

Certainly Leelanau County benefits from the casinos run by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Remember, though, Leelanau is rich in Native American culture, and home to Peshawbestown. Would we support extending the gaming franchise across the state? No.

At some point, the question of whether to open yet another casino will transcend beyond Tribal rights. That’s when lawmakers and residents will ask two questions rather than one. The first question will remain, “Is another casino good for Michigan?”

If yes, a second question will follow: “Then who should build it?”

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