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ICYMI: Working for Wisconsin: A Look at Casino-Related Jobs

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Yesterday, I provided you with information about the possibility of a casino opening across the border in Illinois, if one is not approved in Kenosha. Today, I want to share some information with you about the potential impact--good or bad--on jobs in the state if a new casino is approved in Wisconsin.

As you might guess, there is a great deal of information to review. With this in mind, I will summarize the points made by the various interested parties.

According to the proposal for a new casino from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, they believe 3,356 new permanent jobs will eventually be created at a Kenosha casino. They also believe approximately 1,400 temporary construction jobs would be needed over the next few years to build the facility.

According to information provided by the Forest County Potowatomi and the City and County of Milwaukee, they estimate the Milwaukee casino would lose approximately $158 million in year one, which would grow to over $921 million over an estimated five-year period and would lead to the reduction of about 3,000 jobs. They project these losses based on the percentage of their current customer base, or about a third of current customers, who come from northern Illinois. The City and County of Milwaukee also assert approximately 2,000 direct and indirect jobs related to the current hotel expansion at the Potowatomi casino could be lost, if the Kenosha casino is approved.

In addition, the Ho Chunk Nation presented a report showing gaming revenues at their casinos are estimated to decline by $19.5 million, although they have not specifically quantified their potential job losses as a result of this revenue decline.

In contrast, the Menominee tribal leaders submitted a report by the deadline last Tuesday suggesting the Potawatomi would lose $62.6 million over four years at their Milwaukee location. Their report suggested the Ho Chunk would not experience a loss.

During their meeting with me last week, the Menominee representatives suggested an objective review of the data. In particular, they suggested looking to a firm like the Innovation Group. As I noted to them, the Innovation Group is the firm which conducted a review of the impact of a Kenosha casino to the Ho Chunk's operations, and this firm found it would lead to the aforementioned $19.5 million loss.

This discussion illustrates the difficulty of getting objective information. With that in mind, I am taking additional time to conduct the due diligence necessary for a decision in the best interest of the entire state of Wisconsin.

One tribal government talks about their plans leading to over 3,300 permanent jobs. Two other tribal governments, as well as local governments, talk about the proposed casino leading to significant loss of revenue and the loss of over 3,000 jobs elsewhere in the state.

These are some of the issues we continue to consider in making a final decision on the potential casino approval.

Sincerely,

Governor Scott Walker


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