Michigan Governor Denies Tribal Casino

This story was published more than 1 year ago.

Last week we reported on the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and their attempt to get an off-reservation casino in Muskegon, Michigan. Today we have an update on the story, as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer denied the casino moving forward.

The $180 million casino would have created 3,000 jobs and would have featured a 149,000-square foot casino, 220-room hotel, restaurants, and bars, and has been in the planning phase since 2008. The US Department of the Interior had signed off on the casino a year-and-a-half ago, but approval from Whitmer was needed before the plan could move ahead.

Whitmer said she denied the casino because the DOI hadn't provided her with the information she had requested related to the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians and their own request to build a casino in the state.

In her letter, the governor wrote: "The Department of the Interior first needs to decide whether they are providing federal recognition to the neighboring Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians," Whitmer said in a statement. "It is critical to have this information before making an informed decision. Without that information, I am unable to concur at this time and remain disappointed in the Department's lack of flexibility in this process."

The head of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Larry Romanelli was upset by the decision. In a statement, he noted: "The whole community is going to suffer from a no-decision. While we disagree completely with Governor Whitmer's decision, we respect that she has the authority to make it."

About the author

Dustin Jermalowicz // News Editor
Dustin Jermalowicz
Dustin has a long-standing passion for gambling. He has been writing professionally on the subject and breaking industry news for Casino Listings since 2011. His favorite casino games include Blackjack, Poker, and Hi/Lo. A proud native of Detroit, Dustin currently lives in Michigan.
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20 June 2022 - 4:05pm

Interesting that she chose to deny this casino. I don't think they can go back on it too easy, either... which means this may be permanent. Shame, as that tribe worked a long time to get the project to this point.