"ON THE LIGHTER SIDE"
There is no truth to the rumor that Wisconsin is an ancient Indian word meaning Casino Never Close…but that may soon change.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of (northern) Wisconsin has partnered with the Connecticut-based Mohegan Indian Tribe to propose building an $808 million gambling palace at the Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha. If built, it would be the largest casino between Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
This makes the Potawatomi Nation, owners of a great Milwaukee casino and bingo parlor, very unhappy because they see the other tribes as trying to cut in on their territory. And the guilt-riddled liberals always told you that the only enemy the noble red man ever had was the money-grubbing white man.
So, a genuine Indian war is brewing just north of the Cheddar Curtain, one that is pitting tribe against tribe for the sacred privilege of lightening your wallet at the black jack table…and the roulette wheel…and the craps table…and at the slot machines...
This war won’t be fought with tomahawks or bows and arrows…it will be fought by slick pettifoggers (in the dark days before the perpetually offended and perennially outraged showed me the errors of my ways, I would no doubt speculate that they would be wearing wing-tip moccasins and pin striped feathers…mea culpa. I now know they will wear the standard lawyer’s shark skin suit) and enough smoke filled back room deals to make a Chicago politician proud.
Dennis Troha, a Kenosha businessman and wanna-be casino developer became the first casualty of the war when he was indicted for illegally funneling more than $100,000 to the coffers of Governor Jim Doyle and the Democratic Party.
Troha was quickly replaced by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, no strangers to political intrigue. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported “Mohegan executives have given $25,000 to Doyle and $20,000 to the Wisconsin Democratic Party, all within the past 16 months.” (September 5, 2006)
So why all the fuss about another Indian casino? Well, Forbes magazine reported that last year the National Indian Gaming Association reported “411 operations grossed $18.5 billion (that’s the excess of bets over payouts), accounting for 37% of the U.S. casino industry total.” A shadowy group, No East Coast Gaming in Wisconsin (noeastcoast.com) states the Mohegan's take in over $1 billion from its Connecticut casino alone. Oh, and “Indian gaming establishments are not subject to taxation.” Not a bad deal, if you can get it.
With that kind of money floating around one can only wonder how long it will take Mayor Daley to rediscover his Native American roots. Then we’ll learn what the Illiniwek word for “Where’s mine” is.
Who knows, Daley might even convince the tolerant, compassionate liberals to let us bring back our state’s most famous chief back from the land of the great beyond.
(1) The Tribe’s official website, www.menominee-nsn.gov, states their name is The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, so I don’t want to hear any whining about calling them Native Americans..
(2) The Tribe’s official website, www.mohegan.nsn.us-government, states “the Mohegan Tribe is a sovereign, federally-recognized Indian Nation.” Ditto.
This column was first posted on RFFM.org in April of 2007.
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