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Gun Lake Tribe withholds state payment in lottery dispute

The Gun Lake Band Casino Logoof Potawatomis’ recent dispute with state over on-line lottery sales could result in staff layoffs in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Steve Arwood, chief executive officer of the MEDC, said Monday the dispute resulted in the Gun Lake Tribe not making a scheduled June 1 payment, creating a shortfall of about $7 million.

The last payment the tribe made to the state was last December.

Officials representing the Gun Lake Tribe said Internet lottery sales violate the terms of the Gun Lake Casino’s compact with the state.

The Gun Lake Tribal Council, in a statement said, “Both parties agreed that if the state introduced Internet lottery sales or expanded other forms of electronic gaming to social clubs within the tribe’s market area that the tribe would not have to make state revenue sharing payments. The state has decided to offer Internet lottery sales and electronic gaming within the tribe’s market area.”

Jeff Holyfield, a spokesman for the Michigan Lottery, said on-line gaming program was started in August 2014.

“The state’s Lottery law provided the authority to develop and launch the online games option for players. From the Michigan Lottery’s perspective, we are providing existing games to players through a new channel,” Holyfield said.

Holyfield said the on-line lottery expected to contribute an additional $480 million to the state School Aid Fund in its first eight years.

Dave Murray, a spokesman for the office of Gov. Rick Snyder, said there are discussions about differences of interpretation of the compact.

The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians owns the Gun Lake Casino, just west of Bradley. It has been open since February 2011.

 

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