Gun Lake Casino sharing payments top $60M


(As seen on WZZM TV 13) The tribe that owns Gun Lake Casino in Wayland Township has announced its latest six-month revenue sharing payment to the state and local community, amounting to $8,702,489 — putting the total paid since it opened in early 2011 at more $60 million.

The Gun Lake Tribe said its fall revenue sharing payments included $7,030,280 to the state of Michigan, and the community’s revenue sharing board received $1,672,209.

The revenue sharing payments are distributed semi-annually under terms of the tribe’s agreement with the state and are based on slot machine revenues reported from April 1, 2014, to Sept. 30.

“Once again we hit an important milestone in surpassing $60 million in revenue sharing contributions to the state and local governments,” said D.K. Sprague, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe. “We know these funds have improved the quality of life in our community and helped to create jobs statewide through our contributions to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.”

Under the compact agreement with the state, the tribe agreed to share a percentage of slot machine revenues with the state and local governments in lieu of taxes. The local revenue share is based on 2 percent of net win from slots, while the state payment is calculated on a sliding scale between 8 percent and 12 percent.

The tribe said its continued payments to the state and local governments “are dependent on the continued preservation of exclusive gaming rights within the Tribe’s competitive market area, as defined by the gaming compact, which also includes statewide expansion of certain lottery games. The market area includes the cities of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing, as well as the entire counties of Kent, Kalamazoo and Ingham, among others.”

Meanwhile, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is pushing ahead with its plan to build a casino next to the Lansing Center on land the city sold to it for that purpose. The tribe is now trying to get the federal government to take the land into trust, the first step in enabling it to build a casino there. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero pitched the casino project with the Sault tribe more than two years ago, but it has been on hold while the state tries to block it. It would be called Kewadin Lansing.

The Gun Lake Tribe’s Local Revenue Sharing Board receives the casino payments on behalf of local municipalities to compensate for municipal costs incurred due to the operation of the casino, such as public safety services, and replacement of tax revenue.

The latest payment of $8,702,489 compares to the spring 2014 payment of $7,914,150. The fall 2013 payments totaled slightly more than $8.7 million.

Gun Lake Casino opened in February 2011 and now employs more than 800. To date it has shared $60,937,710 with state and local governments over eight distributions.

The Gun Lake Casino is operated for the tribe by MPM Enterprises, an affiliate of Station Casinos Inc. in Las Vegas.

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