Gun Lake Casino Revenue Up 24% after Expansion

Gun Lake Tribe Vice Chairman Ed Pigeon (left) presents Wayland Township Supervisor and chair of the Gun Lake Local Revenue Sharing Board Roger  VanVolkinburg a check . Native News Online photos by Levi Rickert

Published December 1, 2017

BRADLEY, MICHIGAN – Gun Lake tribal officials were all smiles on Thursday, as they announced details of its fall payments to the local revenue sharing board and the State of Michigan. The figures are calculated from electronic gaming revenues reported from April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017.  The local revenue sharing board received $2,117,954 and the State of Michigan received $4,731,126.

These numbers represent a 24 percent increase from its spring revenue sharing payments. The increase comes as the result of an expansion to the Gun Lake Casino, which is located approximately half-way between Grand Rapids on the north and Kalamazoo on the south.

“This is a very special distribution because of the significant increase in revenues due to the expansion, and because we have surpassed the $100 million milestone,” said Scott Sprague, Chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe.  “The Tribe’s reinvestment of $76 million into the casino expansion has paid off for tribal citizens, our team members and the community.”

Today, the Tribe celebrated the milestone revenue sharing payment at the Gun Lake Casino.  The Tribal Council was joined by members of the Local Revenue Sharing Board, including Wayland Township Supervisor Roger VanVolkinburg.  Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker joined the group to highlight the Tribe’s separate monetary donation to help purchase two K-9s.

Vice Chairman Ed Pigeon, Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker and sheriff’s deputy show off new member of the county’s K-9 unit.

“There is no question the K-9 unit that the tribe has supported since 2012. The first dog we purchased with funds from the tirbe was instrumental in saving the life of child that wandered off from its family’s home. The dog traced the child in cold weather and the child was returned to its family,” said Sheriff Baker.

The Tribe and the State of Michigan executed a gaming compact in 2007 wherein the Tribe agreed to share a percentage of electronic gaming revenues with the state and local governments.  Revenue sharing payments are distributed semi-annually under terms of the compact.  In July 2016, the Tribe and State announced a Partial Settlement Agreement to resolve an interpretation of the compact.

The agreement directed a portion of Gun Lake Casino state revenue sharing payments to GLIMI, which is overseen by the State, and the Tribe’s economic development corporation, Gun Lake Investments.  GLIMI was formed to pursue non-gaming economic development and job creation.  Noonday Market, a fuel and convenience store located next to the Casino, was the first such project.

The state revenue sharing payments 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.

Gun Lake Casino opened in February 2011 and now employs over 1,000 team members.  The Gun Lake Tribe has now shared $101,636,676 with state and local governments over fourteen (14) distributions.

The Local Revenue Sharing Board receives and administers the semi-annual payments.  The gaming compact prescribes mandatory funding to local municipalities for: costs incurred due to the operation of the casino; public safety services; and replacement of tax revenue.  The Board established by-laws to govern the distribution process.  The local payments are made under terms of the gaming compact independent of gaming exclusivity.

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