Tribe members start voting this week on a proposed casino in Lansing

Apr 11, 2012

Ballots are being mailed this week to more than 14 thousand members of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.   The vote may decide if the tribe will go ahead with plans to build a casino in downtown Lansing.

The proposed casino is controversial, not just among those who generally oppose any effort to expand gambling in Michigan, but also among some Sault Ste Marie tribe members.

The tribe already operates five casinos in the Upper Peninsula.  But some tribe members don’t like the way revenue from a Lansing casino would be divided.

A “no” vote could derail the tribe’s plans to build a $245 million casino next to Lansing’s convention center.  A “yes” vote will allow the tribe to move forward with plans to ask the federal government to take the Lansing property into trust for the tribe.    The results of the tribal vote won’t be known until next month.

The proposed Lansing casino is opposed by other tribes that operate casinos in Michigan, as well as Michigan’s governor and attorney general.