Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Kenosha Casino Dances With Wolves

The Siren doesn't care much for casinos. This isn't a new stance. We find them smokey and sad, filled with people who look like they shouldn't be there spending money.

We think casinos are a sucky way to raise revenue.

The casinos we dislike the least are Indian owned casinos. Lord knows, the ability to sponge cash off of dumb white people is the least we can do.

So in the years long debate over the opening of a casino in Kenosha - we were happily not holding our breath. Supporters said "it will use the property of the dog track" cause that worked out so well, and "it will bring jobs to the area."

A casino would bring jobs - but the majority are non-college graduate type jobs. Housekeeping, food service, that kind of thing. That's okay, but fails to impress us much. These days, it's better than nothing.

A lot of people are hot to get the casino, proposed by the Menominee Indian Tribe, it's the real deal. The Federal government has given them the green light.

However, the two other Indian tribes in Wisconsin who operates casinos - the Potawatomi and Ho Chunk Nations are not so thrilled to have a new casino located along I 94 between Chicago and Milwaukee. They have been fighting it for years.

There are various opinions about how much a Kenosha casino run by the Menominee will cut into their business, but it's fair to say it will. That's the free market...or it's supposed to be.

The Potawatomi and Ho Chunk give a butt-load of money to politicians - mostly GOP politicians. By far the most money they have given was to elect Scott Walker in 2010 and again in the recall election. Since the casino needs the Governor to approve it - Scott Walker is in a tough spot.

Kenosha wants it. Racine wants it. It's going to generate jobs and the unions have made many advances in making sure the job gets completed with union labor, so unions want it too.

But Scott Walkers campaign contributors - the largest outside campaign spending group - does not. What's a guy to do?

Scooter has devised a really brilliant weasely move that is sure to work and doom the casino without looking like he's at fault. Walker has said he will approve the casino if each of the eleven Indian tribes in Wisconsin unanimously agree to it - that includes the Potawatomi and the Ho Chunk.

Their approval is VERY unlikely.

So while we are not a big fan of casinos as a thing, we can't quite get over Walker's cynical plan to keep campaign contributors happy and stymie needed economic development along the way.