A month out from the deadline for the state to make a decision on a proposed off-reservation Kenosha casino, Menominee Tribe officials indicated Monday that they are on the verge of making a deal with the state that would clear the way for the project to move forward.
Menominee spokesman Michael Beightol says they have worked out the details of an updated gaming compact with the state. Once signed and approved by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, he says “it gives Governor Walker a path to approve a Kenosha casino.”
While details of the agreement have not been disclosed, Beightol says it addresses all of the questions and concerns that the state has had about the project, including possible losses in state revenue if other tribes refuse to make compact payments. The Forest County Potawatomi, which operate a nearby casino in Milwaukee, have indicated the state may owe them as much as $100 million if the Kenosha project is approved, due to fees the tribe has already paid to the state.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol Monday, Walker was non-committal about the possible deal on compact language, calling it “just one more step in terms of what may or may not happen.” Walker said the biggest stumbling block continues to be the potential budget hole that could be created by the payments owed to the Potawatomi, if he were to approve the Kenosha casino.
AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker (:19)
The governor has until a February 19 deadline to make a decision on whether to approve the project.
Affiliate WHBY contributed to this report.