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Gaming machines at the Four Winds Casino, owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in South Bend, Indiana. Photo: Four Winds Casino
Pokagon Band finalizes historic gaming compact with Indiana
Monday, May 3, 2021

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is finalizing a Class III gaming compact with the state of Indiana, the latest in a series of history-making moves by the tribe.

Pokagon Chairman Matthew Wesaw and Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb (R) will host a ceremonial signing for the agreement on Tuesday. The event takes place in South Bend, where the tribe opened another branch of the Four Winds Casino a little over three years ago.

The gaming facility is located on a 166-acre site in the city. It is the first parcel of land acquired in trust in the state of Indiana in U.S. history.

The tribe has since become a significant part of civic, cultural and economic life in South Bend, which is part of Pokagon territory. Revenues from Four Winds are shared with the local community, including $860,000 in contributions that were delivered earlier this year.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians debuted the Mshkiki Community Clinic in South Bend, Indiana, on April 26, 2021. Photo: Pokagon Band

“The Pokagon Band is very proud to be able to make our annual voluntary contributions to the City of South Bend and several non-profit organizations that play a vital role in serving the community,” Wesaw, who also serves as chief executive officer of the Pokagon Gaming Authority, said in January.

“Although the challenges due to COVID-19 persist, we must continue to find ways to support individuals and families, especially those with the greatest need,” said Wesaw. “We are fortunate to be in a position to continue to provide this level of support in the current environment.”

The Class III gaming compact requires revenues to be shared with the state. In exchange for a guarantee of regional exclusivity, the tribe will contribute 8 percent of the net win at Four Winds South Bend to Indiana.

The tribe concluded negotiations for the agreement in January. The Indiana Legislature subsequently ratified the compact through a separate bill, which was signed into law by Holcomb last Thursday. House Bill 1055 contains the text of the compact.

Before the tribe can engage in Class III gaming at Four Winds, the Bureau of Indian Affairs must either approve the compact or allow it to take effect. Once it the agreement is submitted to the BIA, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act provides a review period of 45 days.

Class III gaming is a category of gaming that includes slot machines, most card games, ball and dice games and related offerings. The tribe has been offering Class II games, such as bingo and electronic forms of bingo, and sports betting in Indiana.

In addition to Four Winds in South Bend, which is undergoing an expansion, the tribe operates three gaming facilities in southwestern Michigan.