Gun Lake Casino revenue sharing totals 18 million plus

June 8, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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The Gun Lake Tribe made its third revenue sharing payments last week under the state pact that allowed it to open a casino in Wayland Township 16 months ago, with the state and local governments receiving $6,477,398 and $1,599,231, respectively.

The revenue sharing payments are distributed every six months under terms of the tribe’s agreement with the State of Michigan. The revenue sharing money is based on slot machine revenues reported Oct. 1 to March 31.

The state payments are dependent on the continued preservation of exclusive gaming rights for the tribe, officially known as the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, within the tribe’s competitive market area. That area is defined by the gaming compact to include the cities of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing, as well as the counties of Kent, Kalamazoo and Ingham, among others, according to the tribe.

Gun Lake Casino opened in February 2011 and now employs more than 800 people; the tribe has now shared a total of $18,454,190 with the state and local governments.

The compact requires funding to local municipalities for public costs incurred due to the operation of the casino, public safety services and replacement of tax revenue. Other allowed uses for local revenue sharing money include funding for schools and civic organizations.

A Local Revenue Sharing Board comprised of tribal members and representatives of Wayland Township was formed to administer the payments. The three tribal members are Lorraine Shananaquet, Phyllis Davis and Rebecca Baker. The other three board members are Roger VanVolkinburg, Wayland Township supervisor and LRSB board chairman; Mark DeYoung, chairman of the Allegan County Board of Commissioners; and Linden Anderson, former mayor of the city of Wayland.

The local revenue share equals 2 percent of net win from the casino’s electronic gaming devices, while the state payment is calculated on a sliding scale between 8 and 12 percent, depending on revenue. A portion of the state share was based on 10 percent of net win from electronic gaming revenue.

“We continue to enjoy strong operating results thanks to the dedication of our team members and the leadership of our management team,” said D.K. Sprague, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe. “We are thankful for the benefits our gaming enterprise has brought to the tribe and our neighbors in West Michigan.”

At the ceremony last week at Baker Elementary School in Wayland, State Rep. Bob Genetski accepted a ceremonial check on behalf of the state of Michigan. He said it is “very rewarding to see (the tribe) develop economically into one of the region’s top job providers. I thank the tribe for delivering on the promises it made to our community.”

Gun Lake Casino is located off the Bradley exit on U.S. 131, halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. It has 1,505 slot machines, 28 table games, a live entertainment stage, restaurant and food court. Although owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, the casino management is under contract by MPM Enterprises LLC, which is owned by an affiliate of Station Casinos Inc. of Las Vegas, plus private investors from Michigan.

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