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Beloit City Council OKs casino

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Gazette staff
March 6, 2012
— The Beloit City Council voted Monday night to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Ho-Chunk Nation and Rock County for a casino just off of Interstate 90/39. The vote was 6-1.

The "no" vote came from Mark Spreitzer. He said he was not opposed to the casino, but he wanted to be a voice for those in the community who didn't agree.


Spreitzer said his dissenting vote would leave a record that not everyone in the city backs the casino.


The agreement lays out the terms for the Ho-Chunk Nation to operate an off-reservation casino. Approval of the document from the city, Rock County and nation is the last step before the casino application can be submitted to the federal government for approval.


The IGA will move through the county level this week. The county board staff committee will consider the agreement at its 4 p.m. meeting today, followed by the Rock County Board at its 6 p.m. meeting Thursday. Both meetings are at the Rock County Courthouse, 51 S. Main St., Janesville.


No date has been set for the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature to vote on the agreement, a spokesman said.


The nation is proposing a 145,000-square-foot gaming facility, which also would include a 300-room hotel and a 35,000-square-foot convention center just off of I-90/39.


The nation would invest $150 million to $200 million in the facility, which would employ up to 2,000 people.


Beloit and Rock County could receive millions of dollars in the deal. The agreement awards the city 2 percent of net wins with no offsets for state payments or operations of the casino. Rock County would receive 30 percent of the 2 percent.


No one knows how the percentages would translate into dollars, but Beloit City Manager Larry Arft previously gave what he called a conservative estimate of $5 million to $7 million for the city annually.



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