Less than a year after the opening of its Gun Lake Casino, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians has shared more than $10.3 million with the state of Michigan and local governments.
The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, opened the Gun Lake Casino last February and now employs 900 people. On Nov. 28, the tribe announced its second revenue-sharing payments—more than $7.8 million this time around. For the period April; 1 through Sept. 30, 2011, the tribe paid $1,560,441 to the Local Revenue Sharing Board (LRSB) distributes payments to local entities, and $6,241,766 to the state. In June, the tribe made its first distribution of gaming revenues, paying out $514.871 to the LRSB and more than $2.5 million to the state.
“The substantial revenue figures are possible because of the dedication of our team members and outstanding performance of our management team,” D.K. Sprague, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe, said in a press release announcing the revenue distribution. “We thank them for helping the Tribe make a contribution to improve the lives of our tribal citizens, and neighbors here in West Michigan.”
Gun Lake’s revenue sharing payments are distributed semi-annually under terms of the tribal-state compact, which is a government-to-government contract or treaty. The agreement calls for a local payment of two percent of the net win from electronic gaming devices while the state payment is based on a sliding scale between eight and 12 percent, depending on revenue. The latest distribution is based on eight percent of net win.
The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Wayland Township Area Local Revenue Sharing Board was formed to receive and administer local revenue sharing payments. The Board is comprised of three tribal representatives and three representatives of local governments/communities.
Payments to local municipalities are given to offset costs incurred due to the operation of the casino, for public safety services, as payment in lieu of taxes, and can also be used to fund schools and civic organizations.
Mark DeYoung, the chairman of the Allegan County Board of Commissioners and a member of the LRSB, said the gaming revenues “are a tremendous boost to municipal budgets. The enhanced services have a very positive impact in the local community.” DeYoung said that the bylaws that govern the LRSB’s operations give the board 60 days to determine how the funds will be distributed.
The revenue shared with the state goes to economic development and job creation programs administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. These payments are dependent on the continued preservation of exclusive gaming rights within the Tribe’s competitive market area, as defined by the compact, which includes the cities of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, as well as the entire counties of Kent, Kalamazoo and Ingham, among others, according to the press release.