Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation revives plan for Illinois casino

An undated artist's rendering of a proposed Class II gaming facility in DeKalb County, Illinois. Image from Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas is moving forward with plans for a Class II facility on ancestral land in Illinois.

In 2006, the tribe reacquired 127 acres within the Shab-eh-nay Reservation in DeKalb County. Plans for a casino there have been in the works for more than a decade.

“It’s going to be an economic engine and a job creator in this community,” Chairwoman Liana Onnen told the county's economic development committee, The DeKalb Daily Chronicle reported.

The tribe signed an agreement with the county in 2008 to share revenues from a potential casino. The tribe also has been making payments in lieu of taxes to the county for the property.

A view of the ancestral reservation in Illinois. Photo from Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

The site, however, has not been placed in trust. The tribe contends that the original 1,280-acre reservation, which was set aside for Chief Shab-eh-nay and his band, has never been extinguished by Congress, a claim that has not been tested.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, any land within a reservation can be used for a casino regardless of its trust status. The law requires a tribe to exercise "governmental power" over a potential gaming site.

The tribe has asked the National Indian Gaming Commission to issue an opinion on the legality of gaming at the site.

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DeKalb County, Potawatomi Nation tribe moving forward with casino plans (The DeKalb Daily Chronicle 8/5)

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