Saturday, March 15, 2008

House Judiciary Committee Chair Opposes Off-Reservation Casino Plans in Michigan


Conyers, Kilpatrick voice concerns anew over casino plans
Proposed gambling sites in Port Huron, Romulus at issue


WASHINGTON -- The Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on proposals that would clear the way for Indian casinos in Romulus and Port Huron.

Although the House Natural Resources Committee already approved it overwhelmingly, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers of Detroit -- an opponent of the bill -- claimed jurisdiction over part of the bill.

The legislation has been hotly contested, with Detroit's lawmakers saying it would threaten the casinos there. Meanwhile, some argue it would set a precedent for other tribes across the country to raise land claims as a way to get casinos far from their reservations.

Proponents say that's bunk -- that land claims are typically settled by Congress and this is no more than that.

Conyers, in his opening remarks, noted that MGM has spent $800 million on a new Detroit casino.

"Undoubtedly, MGM would never have made that kind of investment if it knew that Congress would be shoe-horning in additional casinos right outside the city borders," Conyers said.

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick also testified against it, noting MGM's investment and the questions about whether the tribes are circumventing an established process for using lands for gaming.

"These are dangerous bills and a precedent I don't think Congress wants to set," she said.

But the Bay Mills and Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa tribes say the deals -- signed off on by Govs. John Engler and Jennifer Granholm -- settle claims on the Upper Peninsula going back more than 100 years.

Both Romulus and Port Huron desperately want the casinos as well.

But while MGM is clearly opposed, the feelings of the other two Detroit casinos are more complicated. The Sault tribe, which would build in Romulus, already owns the majority stake in Greektown Casino. And Marian Ilitch, the owner of MotorCity Casino, works closely with the developer proposing the Port Huron facility, though she is not directly involved. She hasn't raised any objections.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

MGM Detroit Casino revenues up nearly 30%; while MotorCity Casino revenues fall


Glitzy MGM beats the competition
Revenue at Detroit casino jumps, but dips at others


Joan and Richard Booth of Erie drive to Detroit three times a month to visit the MGM Grand Detroit, their pick of the metro area's casino competition.

They play slots, eat at one of MGM's restaurants, visit with their son who lives in Detroit, and then drive 50 miles home.

"This is so nice," said Joan Booth, 66, as she prepared to enter the gaming floor Tuesday with her husband.

With February revenue of $47 million, up 27.9% from the same month a year ago, the glitzy entertainment mecca appears to be immune to the area's sagging economy.

Revenue for the MotorCity and Greektown casinos dipped 2.25% and 6.89%, respectively, this February when compared with a year ago. MotorCity took in $38.3 million and Greektown took in nearly $27 million...

...MotorCity spokeswoman Jennifer Kulczycki said construction has had an impact on its performance.

"We've been aggressively advertising that we're open and here," she added. "The general economy is a concern for us."

MotorCity casino's permanent facilities are not fully open yet. The gaming area, hotel and fine-dining restaurant are open. Still to open are a full-service spa, to open in the hotel in April. An ultra lounge is to open shortly thereafter. A convention center and 1,800-seat theater for live entertainment, musicals and comedy are to open in the spring or summer... (Original Story)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

House Judiciary committee to probe matters surrounding Port Huron casino deal

Rep. John Conyers (D - MI 14th), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing of the committee to take up and investigate matters surrounding the so-called Land Setttlement Agreement between the Bay Mills Indian Community and the State of Michigan, H.R. 2176. Conyers opposes the bill which would allow the Bay Mills Indian Community and its financial backer Michael J. Malik, Sr. to build a casino located in Port Huron, Michigan, 350 miles away from the tribe's reservation.

Among other things, Conyers has expressed concern that Lance Boldrey, now an attorney with the Dykema Gossett law firm, had negotiated the unorthodox settlement as an aide to then-Michigan Governor John Engler; and then just months later was retained as a private practice attorney but the tribe's financial backer lead by Malik.

The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, March 14, at 10:00 a.m. eastern time and will be Webcast live. Details at

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Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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