Tribal vote on Lansing casino project nearing an end

Apr 29, 2012

Voting wraps up this week in a referendum that may decide if plans for a casino in downtown Lansing can move forward.

Ballots were mailed to 14 thousand members of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians earlier this month.

The basic question is should the tribe move ahead with plans to build a $245 million casino adjacent to Lansing’s downtown convention center.

Some members of the tribe demanded the vote, out of concerns about how revenues from the Lansing casino would be handled.     The campaign challenging the casino plan is being led by a man currently running to be elected the tribe’s next chairman.

If a majority of tribe members vote in favor of the Lansing casino project, tribal leaders will move forward with plans to ask the federal government to put the land into trust for the tribe.

The proposed casino faces numerous legal challenges, including opposition from other tribes that operate casinos in Michigan.