Interview with Little River Band leader on off-reservation casino

Artist's rendering of proposed off-reservation casino in Fruitport Township, Michigan. Image from Little River Band

An interview with Larry Romanelli, the ogema of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, about the tribe's plan for an off-reservation casino at a former racetrack in Michigan:
Why does this site make sense for a new casino?

Obviously, the location is very good because it intersects with I-96 and U.S.-31 going north and south. It’s is heavily commercial. There was already gaming on the site for a number of years through the racetrack. For all those reasons, we think it fits what we need to do. It has ample room for parking and just the general location.

What reaction has the tribe received toward its plans?

Everybody has been very supportive. The township, the county, the local units of government and the citizens of Muskegon County have been very supportive. We really appreciated that.

How could this project impact economic development efforts in the Muskegon area?

We believe that there are going to be well over 1,000 jobs created. Our Manistee casino employs about 850-900 people and if this is 1.5 times that size, then we absolutely believe that 1,000-1,200 jobs is very realistic. Obviously, when you have a casino of that size, it does encourage other economic development in the area, through entrepreneurship and other people coming to the area. The Lakes Mall has created that as well. It’s a growing area. There is still ample room out there for more growth.

Get the Story:
Q&A: Larry Romanelli, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (MiBiz 3/15)

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