Arts & Entertainment, Economic Development, and Government

Tribe plans casino in college town

March 24, 2016
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Four Winds casinos
The Four Winds brand operates casinos in New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac. Photo via fb.com

The owner of a casino chain in the region is planning to open a casino in a Midwest college town.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians said yesterday that it has reached two separate intergovernmental agreements with the city of South Bend, Indiana, which will allow for the construction of a Four Winds casino and tribal residential village.

“The Pokagon Band has been in this region for hundreds of years, and the tribal village in South Bend will help preserve our legacy for future generations,” said John Warren, chairman, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the agreements are “historic” for the city and “the region’s original inhabitants” and will “infuse millions of dollars into the economy and create hundreds of new jobs.”

The 166-acre site is located between Prairie Avenue, U.S. 31 and Locust Road in South Bend.

Details are sparse, but construction cannot begin until the Bureau of Indian Affairs completes its review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Pokagon Band’s Trust Land Application.

The agreements

The first agreement, approved by the South Bend Board of Public Works on Tuesday, enables the city to provide sewer and water services to the Pokagon Band site in South Bend.

The second agreement involves payment by the tribe to the city in lieu of property taxes, as well as community development initiatives and other terms and conditions related to the site's development.

As part of the water and sewer agreement, the Pokagon Band will provide the city with $400,000 to assist with replacing and upgrading a lift station.

The deal also requires the Pokagon Band to make an annual payment to the city equaling 2 percent of net win. Payments will not be less than $1 million annually if the casino has between 850 and 1,699 games and not less than $2 million if the casino has more than 1,700 games.

The tribe has also agreed to fund a variety of community development projects and causes.

Four Winds

The South Bend Four Winds will be the fourth Four Winds casino operated by the Pokagon Band and the first one located outside of southwest Michigan.

The first Four Winds casino opened in New Buffalo in 2007, followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013.

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