Sault Tribe votes to support casino project in Lansing
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians voted to approve a referendum that supports the Tribe’s plan to seek federal approval to open a casino in downtown Lansing.
Sault Tribe members approved the referendum by a vote of 3,947 to 2,311 via mail ballots counted tonight by the Tribe’s Election Committee.
The ballots were mailed to all registered tribal voters on April 12 and had to be returned by today. The election cost roughly $30,000.
The election was called for by a referendum petition signed by 106 tribal members. The ballot asked tribal members to approve or not approve Resolution 2012- 11 passed by the Tribe’s Board of Directors to seek to build and open a new casino in Lansing.
Sault Tribe Chairman Joe Eitrem thanked all tribal members who participated in the election and expressed gratitude to members who voted for approval.
“If we succeed in opening a casino in Lansing, it will provide a new source of funds desperately needed to fully fund and restore membership programs that have been cut, to replenish our Self Sufficiency Fund, to pay down our debt, and to bring more services to members,” Eitrem said.
The casino has already received all necessary approvals from Lansing, including from Mayor Virg Bernero and the City Council. Next steps in the project are to conclude the Tribe’s purchase of the land where the casino will be built adjacent to the Lansing Center and to submit an application to the U.S. Department of the Interior to take the land into trust for gaming.