Kenosha casino effort; Menominee Indian Tribe partners with Hard Rock

The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW) announced Wednesday, July 20 that in partnership with Hard Rock International (Hard Rock), it will relaunch the Wisconsin tribe’s efforts to open a destination entertainment center and casino in the City of Kenosha.

Menominee will be the owner of the casino and related facilities, and Hard Rock will be the developer and manager of the project.

Menominee Chairman Ronald J. Corn, Sr. said that the revived effort is aimed at providing necessary resources for the ongoing and growing needs of the tribe’s members.

"Hard Rock has a long-standing partnership with the Menominee Tribe and is proud to support them in their continued efforts to bring a world-class gaming and entertainment resort to the Kenosha community," said Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas.

A previous Menominee Hard Rock Projectin Kenosha was approved by the City of Kenosha, County of Kenosha, and United States Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of the Interior, but was rejected by then Gov. Walker during the midst of his early presidential campaign in 2015, according to a press release. 

"Much has changed since our 2015 effort, but the needs of our tribe and its members have continued and in some cases grown more acute," Corn said. "We need to make greater investments into health care for our children and elders; we need to make more investments into educating our young people; and we need to do more to reduce the high levels of poverty, hunger, and unemploymenton our reservation. A casino and entertainment center in the City of Kenosha is the best path for our tribe to obtain the resources to help achieve those important goals."

He said that one change for the Hard Rock Kenosha project is that the size of the casino would be trimmed back to reflect the increased number of gaming facilities in both Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

"The proposed project will not be as big as it was previously envisioned, but it will still create jobs and be substantial. It will still be a Hard Rock brand and be an incredible addition to the community, the local and regional economy, and the state," Corn said. 

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While previous plans called for the Menominee-Hard Rock entertainment center and casino to be built at the site of the former Dairyland dog track, the new site being proposed is on land less than a mile away just west of the interstate on about 60 acres of land in the City of Kenosha. The property was previously owned by the Village of Bristol, and an option on it was recently purchased by Hard Rock. Corn noted that because this is a different site, the project will have to develop a revised federal gaming application as well as negotiate updated intergovernmental agreements.


Forest County Potawatomi

"The Potawatomi are opposed to a Florida tribe - with no connections to Wisconsin - coming to the state to open a new casino. Make no mistake,  this proposal is being driven by the Florida Seminole Tribe and they will take millions of dollars from Wisconsin back to Florida."