LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A federal appeals court says an Indian tribe from the Upper Peninsula can move ahead with plans to build a $245 million casino in downtown Lansing.
The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Wednesday overturned the decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids. Jonker put the breaks on the casino plan earlier this year after granting an injunction against the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
The tribe now can apply to the U.S. Department of the Interior to have land it bought from the city of Lansing held in trust for gambling.
The planned 125,000-square-foot Kewadin Lansing casino would be located adjacent to the Lansing Convention Center, and would offer up to 3,000 slot machines and 48 gambling tables.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero strongly promoted the plan, which backers say would create jobs and help improve the city. Bernero has said the casino would bring an estimated 2,200 union jobs, as well as generate $5 million to $6 million annually for the “Lansing Promise” – a college scholarship fund for area students.
The plans are opposed by Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder, as well as some other American Indian tribes with competing casinos. Snyder and Schuette had previously sent a letter to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, saying the state would take “whatever steps are necessary” to prevent the casino from opening.
Michigan has more than two dozen casinos, most of which are owned and operated by tribes.
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