Off-Reservation Casino Sparks Debate
2:39 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Potawatomi Say New Report Shows Gaming Market is Saturated; Menominee Disagree

Editor's Note: This report was updated at 4:01 p.m.

A report on Indian gaming is drawing mixed interpretations about how casinos are doing in Wisconsin. 

The report from gaming information publisher Casino City shows a slight increase in Wisconsin’s gaming revenue from 2011 and 2012.  But it also shows more than 3-percent drop over six years, from 2007 through 2012. 

George Ermert, spokesperson for the Forest County Potawatomi Community, says the report shows it will hurt the rest of the market…if the Menominee Tribe builds a new casino in Kenosha.             

“Gaming has really matured, in the last couple of years.  And in Wisconsin you see a mature market.  So while we’ve seen an increase in the number of slot machines or table games – we still see a decline in the total gaming revenue that’s generated.” 

But spokesperson for the Kenosha Project Michael Beightol says those years of revenue decline were due to the recession, and not to the market being saturated.

“It didn’t matter in 2007, 2008, 2009 – no matter what industry you looked at, whether it was housing, the automobile industry, whether it was dairy exports - all businesses were suffering through the recession.”

The Menominee tribe also believes the Kenosha project will draw significant revenue and visitors from neighboring states like Illinois. 

Though gaming revenues dropped in Wisconsin for four consecutive years leading up to 2012, profits still went up during that time, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report from last year.