Indian Gaming Now

Bay Mills Indian Community

Off-Reservation Gaming in Michigan -- One, Two, Three, or More Casinos?

Jan 23 2012
Off-reservation gaming is heating up in the Great Lake State (or, to those of us who are University of Michigan grads, the Wolverine State)!

Shortly before we rang in 2012, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a decision approving the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's application for an off-reservation casino in Marquette County.  This was a rare approval under the "best interests" exception to IGRA's general prohibition against gaming on lands acquired after 1988.

Then, just over a week ago, the news broke that the Menominee Tribe was once again aggressively pursuing its dream of a Kenosha casino, with help from KMD Consulting Services in California.

And Now for the Lawsuit . . . .

Dec 23 2010
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has filed a federal suit to shut down the new Bay Mills casino in Michigan, located just a few miles north of Gaylord off of I-75 -- that's in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, while the Bay Mills Indian Community has its headquarters and reservation in the Upper Peninsula.  Cox claims that the casino is located on land that does not qualify as "Indian lands" under IGRA, so that the tribe's casino is not authorized either by IGRA or by the tribal-state compact.  The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians filed a similar suit against Bay Mills on Wednesday.  We've been following this situation in the last several posts.

Michigan AG Demands Closure of New Bay Mills Casino

Dec 18 2010
As we discussed in an earlier post, the Bay Mills Indian Community opened a new casino a few weeks ago.  The casino is on land that is owned by the tribe, but reportedly has not yet been taken into trust by the federal government.  As we warned in our earlier post, "the tribe may have opened itself up to either state regulation or violation of the federal Johnson Act . . . this is definitely one to watch."  Now, the Michigan Attorney General is demanding that the tribe close the casino.

More From Michigan

Nov 6 2010
Coverage in the Detroit Free Press indicates that the state was "caught off guard" by the new Bay Mills Resort Casino in Vanderbilt, Michigan.  The tribe has purchased more land along the St. Clair River in Port Huron, and may open another casino there.  And the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has purchased land in Wayne County.

State officials are planning to meet with Bay Mills officials this coming week.  Local officials in Vanderbilt are supportive, anticipating positive economic impacts.

Off-Reservation Casino in Michigan?

Nov 3 2010
Local news in Michigan has reported the opening of an off-reservation casino by the Bay Mills Indian Community.  The tribe purchased some 45 acres of property in Northern Michigan, ostensibly for elk hunting.  The property includes the 1200-square foot "Welcome Center" of a former resort, which is now reportedly operating as a casino (or at least a slot room).  According to reports, the tribe has not sought to take the land into trust.

The tribe has issued a press release confirming the opening and operation of the "Vanderbilt casino," referencing tribal "off-reservation treaty rights" related to hunting in the Vanderbilt area.