Tribal Casino Passes $150 Million Mark In Revenue Sharing In Michigan

The Gun Lake Tribe last week announced figures from its fall revenue-sharing payments with the state of Michigan, which comes as the tribe, along with others, moves to see the launch of online gambling — sports betting and Michigan online casinos — in the early part of 2021.

According to the tribe, the Wolverine State received $3,293,020 and the local revenue sharing board received $1,475,308.

GLIMI, an economic development entity created by the tribe, received $987,906. The figures were calculated from electronic gaming revenue reported from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2020.

According to the tribe, the fall revenue-sharing distribution total was the lowest ever for Gun Lake Casino in a six-month period. The culprit was the coronavirus, which caused Michigan casinos to close earlier this year. Many have closed again in recent weeks, though the Gun Lake Casino remains open.

The Gun Lake Casino, located between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids in western Michigan, recently announced reduced hours of operation, among other efforts, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

“The Tribe’s commitment to make a positive impact on our local community has never been stronger as we all persevere through the pandemic,” said Bob Peters, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe. “This distribution would not be possible without the dedication of our executives and team members at the casino. We thank them immensely and congratulate them for helping us surpass $150 million in revenue sharing.”

With the more than $5 million in fall revenue-sharing distribution, the tribe has now shared $150,047,785 with state and local governments over 20 distributions since the property opened in early 2011. More than $98 million went directly to the state. The state’s cut goes to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which uses the funds to award grants to businesses in the state.

MI online gambling on the way

The Gun Lake Casino partnered with the Pennsylvania-based Parx Casino, owned by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., for online gambling within Michigan borders.

The Gun Lake Tribe is one of 12 Native American groups that offers gambling within the state.

The tribe announced a deal with Parx in March, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the online gambling legislation into law in late 2019.

“We are motivated to offer our casino guests and all Michigan residents the ultimate first time experience with these new entertainment offerings,” said Jose Flores, vice president and general manager of Gun Lake Casino. “We have strategically crafted our partnership with Parx Casino to allow a flawless and unsurpassed plan for our guests interested in sports betting and online gaming.”

The tribe is the only online gambling partner for Parx within the state of Michigan.

Parx launched an online/mobile sports betting platform in the Keystone State in June 2019, followed by online casino offerings the next month.

Under the Michigan online gambling law, the tribes will pay a percentage of their online gambling revenue to the state, just like the commercial casinos in Detroit. Basically, the law was innovative with regards to it putting the tribes under the same regulation as the commercial casinos. Tribal gambling is otherwise regulated by the federal government.

Unlike the Detroit casinos, the tribal casinos won’t have to pay a tax to the Motor City.

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