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Arnold M. Knightly

Station plans to manage Michigan casino move forward

19 August 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada –- Plans by Station Casinos to manage an American Indian casino in Michigan have taken a step forward with the planned casino's land now officially designated a reservation.

The casino company's current bankruptcy case should not affect the $200 million project, which is being financed by the tribe.

"Because the (bankruptcy) filing is at the parent company level, it has no impact on our Native American partnerships," Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said.

The Department of Indian Affairs on Monday announced the signing of a proclamation making 147 acres a reservation for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

The Michigan casino is able to move ahead after a 10-year legal struggle endured by the tribe, commonly called the Gun Lake Tribe, ended Jan. 30.

The land 20 miles south of Grand Rapids was put into trust by the U.S. Department of Interior in February after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Jan. 21 not to hear an opposition group's petition to block the casino.

Tribal spokesman James Nye said the tribe hopes to announce a groundbreaking date in the near future.

The casino will provide 1,800 new jobs to an area with 14 percent unemployment, he said, with a few hundred more jobs filled during construction.

"We are very excited about creating new employment opportunities through the construction and operation of the Gun Lake Casino," Nye said.

It will take nearly 16 months to convert an old 192,000-square-foot factory and warehouse into a casino with up to 2,500 slots machines, 75 table games, restaurants and a buffet.

Station Casinos currently manages Thunder Valley for the United Auburn Indian Community in Sacramento, Calif. The casino company receives a fee of 24 percent of the property's net income through a management contract scheduled to expire in June.

Station Casinos has three other tribal casino management agreements in California in different stages of moving land into trust.

Station plans to manage Michigan casino move forward is republished from