Ho-Chunk Nation continues to defend legality of casino expansion

The Ho-Chunk Nation hosted veterans for a flag raising ceremony on March 29, 2017, amid ongoing construction at a gaming facility in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. Photo: Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg

The Ho-Chunk Nation is refuting claims that one of its gaming facilities in Wisconsin isn't legal.

The casino in Wittenberg. is located on land that was initially deeded to the tribe in 1969, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. But a new deed was issued in 1989 -- one year past a key deadline in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The latter date has the Stockbridge-Munsee Community claiming Wittenberg can't be used for gaming at all. But a Ho-Chunk Nation spokesperson told the paper that the Bureau of Indian Affairs declared the land to be a reservation in 1986 -- well before the IGRA deadline.

Still, the land issue might be brought up in a lawsuit that the Stockbridge-Munsee Community might file against the Ho-Chunk Nation and Gov. Scott Walker (R). His administration believes the Wittenberg site is legal but appeared to concede that its position could change.

“Unless or until the appropriate agencies of the federal government reverse the existing determination, the state of Wisconsin finds that the land is eligible for gaming,” a state official wrote in a letter to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, The Journal Sentinel reported.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community fears its North Star Casino Resort will see losses once the Wittenberg expansion is complete. The casino is less than 16 miles from the Ho-Chunk facility.

Read More on the Story:
Wisconsin casino fight with Ho-Chunk, Stockbridge-Munsee centers on key date (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 48)

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