Plans For New Tribal Casino In Michigan Take Significant Step Forward

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians took a big step forward with plans to build a new retail casino, while it also eyes online gambling.
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Another tribal casino may be coming to Michigan.

According to a report from Native News Online, a proposed $180 million tribal casino in West Michigan, a project from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, will soon receive a final environmental impact statement from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The development signals a major milestone for the potential casino, which reportedly has been pitched for about a decade. The casino would be the tribe’s second within the state of Michigan. The new casino is planned for the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack in Muskegon.

Should the federal government take the land into trust, the tribe would still need to work with the state of Michigan to receive approval. Tribes operate casinos under compacts with the state.

The tribe’s casino would not come with three online gambling skins, as it already has them from its existing gambling facility. There are 24 tribal casinos in Michigan operated by 12 tribes. There are also three commercial casinos in the city of Detroit. Each operator gets three online betting skins, not each property.

The tribe estimates as long as a three-year timeline to bring the project to completion, assuming no setbacks. The new casino would be equipped with 1,700 slot machines, 35 table games, and a 220-room hotel. It is unclear if the tribe would have a retail sportsbook at the property.

Tribe’s current sports betting operation

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians debuted sports betting at its Little River Casino Resort in July under a partnership with Rush Street Interactive. The Illinois-based RSI will power the tribe’s online/mobile sports gambling operations. Michigan is expected to see the launch of apps in December.

“The partnership between RSI and Little River provides RSI with access to the online market in Michigan, with plans to launch a co-branded online sports betting and online casino statewide as soon as Michigan regulations allow,” the tribe said in a presser this summer.

The Little River Casino opened in 1999 with 600 slot machines and scarce amenities but currently has 1,100 slots, 26 table games, and the sportsbook. The property also has greatly expanded and now features a hotel, RV park, swimming pools, a handful of restaurants and bars, an event center, and a golf course.

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