Wisconsin Governor Signs Approval for Ho-Chunk Casino in Beloit

4 Ho-Chunk Casino Fronts
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers gave his approval for the Ho-Chunk Nation to build a casino complex in Beloit on Wednesday, clearing one of the major hurdles in the long-planned project.

Evers’ signing comes one year after the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave its initial approval, six years after former Gov. Scott Walker blocked a proposed gambling hall in Kenosha that was proposed by the Menominee tribe, almost seven years after the application was filed, and 22 years after Beloit residents approved the project in a referendum.

The complex is located just West of Interstate 39/90 and would sit on Wisconsin’s border with Chicago, making it an easy draw for out-of-state visitors. According to Beloit City manager Curtis Luther, the project will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs when operational.

Second Biggest Casino in Wisconsin

Once it is completed, the Ho-Chunk in Beloit will be the second largest casino in Wisconsin after the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. The Ho-Chunk project will boast of 2,200 slot machines, a 300-room hotel tower, a 40,000 square foot waterpark, five restaurants, a retail shopping venue, concert venue, and a conference space, all of these on 73 acres of land.

According to Ho-Chunk tribe spokesman Sarah Lemeiux, the Beloit casino will likely be a smoke-free property, unlike some Wisconsin casinos. The state has an indoor smoking ban but since the casinos are owned by the tribes, they are not bound by the state law because they are considered as sovereign nations.
es of land.

Off to Bureau of Indian Affairs For Final Approval

Now that Evers has signed off his approval, the Bureau of Indian Affairs can consider giving the Beloit casino project final approval by putting 32 out of the project’s 73 hectares into federal trust. Once that is completed, Evers and the Ho-Chunk tribe will have to negotiate their agreement on casino operations, including how much of the casino’s revenues goes to the state.

Since the project is for an off-reservation casino, the governor did not have the power to veto it under the federal rule. But that option wasn’t in the cards as far as the Beloit casino is concerned because Gov. Evers had voiced his support for the Ho-Chunk casino project even before his election to office in 2018.

The Potawatomi Hotel-Casino is Fully Open for Business

Wisconsin’s land-based casino industry has been slowly reopening since June. Interestingly, many intense safety regulations remain in place at many of the state’s gambling venues. This week, news broke that the Potawatomi Hotel-Casino has reopened to the public without the need for reservations.Potawatomi Hotel-Casino

It’s great news for gambling fans in the state. The Potawatomi casino is one of the most popular in the state. Today, we’re going to talk about how this new rule will impact the state’s gambling industry moving forward.

Let’s get into it!

Wisconsin’s Casino Industry Has Been Open Since June

For years, casino revenue has been increasing around the United States. Many of the country’s major gambling destinations were seeing a revival with surges in tourism. Exciting new casino-resorts were being constructed left and right.

Much of the progress came to a screeching halt in March. That month, casino operators around the US closed their properties due to rising concerns about the pandemic. Each state has taken its own approach getting its casino industry back up and running.

Wisconsin has an interesting set of gambling laws. Here, only Native American-run casinos are able to operate. There are currently 26 of them in the state, many of which started opening their doors to the public in June.

Some casinos are having an easier time getting back on track. Of course, all of the gaming properties here are implementing intense safety measures to protect their players and employees. These regulations vary from casino to casino.

The Potawatomi Hotel-Casino is long-been one of the most popular gambling venues in Wisconsin. For months, however, it’s been requiring its players to make reservations prior to their visit. This week, that rule is being scrapped.

Here’s what we know about this situation.

Reservations Won’t be Required at the Potawatomi Hotel-Casino Starting on Thursday

Casinos in Wisconsin have seen their visitation rates and revenue drop immensely over the past few months. It’s a difficult situation and one that no one seems to know how to fix. It now seems that one of the state’s top casinos is lifting one of its major regulations.

The Potawatomi Hotel-Casino has just announced that it will stop requiring its players to make reservations beginning on Thursday. This rule had been in place since the casino reopened in June. Many felt it was leading to a major dip in players.

Officials within the casino released a statement that details why this decision is being made.

“All of these measures, and others, will remain in place until the science and accompanying data show it’s safe to move closer to pre-pandemic operations,” the statement claims. 

That’s not the only regulation being lifted. Moving forward, this casino will remain open to the public until 2 am. For months, the owners of this venue have been requiring the doors to be closed at midnight.

Most other safety protocols are remaining in place. Masks must still be worn by all patrons and employees inside the casino. Temperature checks will also be mandatory. For now, table games, poker, and bingo are all off-limits, as well.

Casino revenue in Wisconsin is still down considerably this year. It’s unclear when these revenue earnings will return to normal. Stay tuned for more updates on casino regulations in the state over the next few months.

Nearby States Work to Expand Gambling Industries

Wisconsin’s casino industry helps to bring the state valuable revenue every month. Interestingly, lawmakers here are showing no signs of wanting to expand the state’s gambling laws. There are no bills to allow sports betting or commercial casinos here.

Several nearby states are taking a different approach, though. Illinois has been working extremely hard to expand its casino and sports betting industry over the past few years. That includes the passing of a new Capital Plan allowing several new casinos to open around the state.

Illinois is also embracing the sports betting industry. The first legal sports betting options became available here in March of 2020. Today, both land-based and online sports gambling platforms are regulated by the state.

Michigan now allows sports betting, as well. For now, only land-based sports gambling options are available here. Online and mobile sports betting platforms are expected to launch here sometime in early 2021.

Wisconsin’s casino owners are now looking to boost revenue earnings. On Thursday, the Potawatomi Hotel-Casino will finally stop its guests from making reservations. It will be interesting to see how that affects the casino moving forward.

Do you plan on gambling in Wisconsin anytime soon? Let us know in the comments section below!