SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – The Four Winds Casino in South Bend is poised to become a classier place to visit.
The facility has been open for three years now as a Class II gaming operation with bingo-based slot machines.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has now reached a compact with the State of Indiana that will allow Class III gaming on the grounds.
“It’s going to make a lot of changes for the tribe. It will change the ability for them to go from Class II to Class III gaming , you know, obviously they’ve begun building a hotel on their footprint, that is going to, that hotel now, it’s going to obviously bring people to that hotel when it’s built,” Indiana State Senator David Niezgodski told 16 News Now.
In the summer of 2019, the tribe announced plans to build a 23-story hotel on the South Bend property. That’s about the same time the tribe requested that compact negotiations begin.
In exchange, the tribe will share 10 percent of its net revenue from slot machines, with the State of Indiana getting eight percent, and the City of South Bend getting two percent.
$1 million of the revenue sharing money will go into an education fund to be used by tribal citizens to attend Indiana colleges, universities, and workforce training programs.
“You know, when we’re having trouble filling jobs, I think that’s significant and I think that’s a benefit to all of us in the region,” said Indiana State Senator Ryan Mishler, (R) Bremen.
The rest of the revenue sharing will fund economic and workforce development, tourism, public health, and education.
“Yeah, that’s all the major areas of our budget anyway. I mean education is 60 percent of it, you’ve got health care, that’s 80 percent of our budget right there, so again, there’s a lot of flexibility,” Mishler added.
The compact would also offer the Four Winds protection from competition, according to Indiana Representative Ryan Dvorak, (D) South Bend: “The main portion of the agreement is the exclusivity portion which simply says the tribe will make those payments so long as the state doesn’t license another casino within, I think it’s like an 18 county operating area, so to sort of preserve their share of market share.”
The compact would also allow the Four Winds South Bend to have sports betting on site.
The pact must be approved by Indiana Lawmakers and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
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