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Ho-Chunk approves casino agreement

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GINA R. HEINE
March 21, 2012
— Ho-Chunk Nation legislators approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Beloit and Rock County on Tuesday, paving the way for a Beloit casino application to head for federal approval.

Legislators voted 6-5-1, the closest vote among the three parties approving the agreement. Nation officials couldn't be reached Tuesday.


Earlier this month, the Rock County Board voted 24-2 and the Beloit City Council voted 6-1 to support the agreement.


Nation officials have said they plan to apply to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs within a month from the vote for an off-reservation gaming permit. The application first would go to a regional office in Minnesota, then to Washington, D.C. The process typically takes 18 months to two years.


If the plan is approved in Washington, Wisconsin's governor would have final authority over the application.


The Ho-Chunk Nation already has a compact with Wisconsin to open a fourth casino, which officials have said should simplify the negotiations at the state level.


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 1,000 to 2,000 people.



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