The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs is pushing forward with new casino plans, according to documents obtained by the Petoskey News-Review.
Draft meeting minutes show tribal leaders in Harbor Springs plan to shift nearly a million dollars to be used for pre-construction costs and consulting.
“This is going to be a satellite casino to the Odawa Casino Resort that’s in Petoskey,” says reporter Brandon Hubbard, who broke the story for the News-Review. “It would be just a slot machine casino, so 550 slot machines. So it would be quite a bit smaller, almost a third of the size of the Petoskey casino.”
Hubbard says tribe got permission from the state back in 2003 to build up to two casinos in Emmet County, but at that time the tribe failed to win the approval of officials in Mackinaw City. Village officials would also have to approve this plan.
A press release is expected later this week from the tribe. For now, leaders chose not to comment.
Hubbard says a vote Sunday of tribal leadership to appropriate funds for pre-construction was approved six to two, with another member absent. It appears some members of the tribe have concerns about the plan.
“The draft minutes that I’ve seen from Sunday, which was a closed meeting to non-tribal members, do kind of indicate that some of the members think the tribe may be over-extending itself financially,” Hubbard says. “They do have a $40 million dollar financial debt still on the Odawa Casino Resort.
“But there are a lot of thoughts that building a satellite casino near the I-75 corridor may be a way to capture more revenues. And right now the tribe is saying that about $5 million dollars a year would be generated from a satellite casino.”