Inside INdiana Business

Holcomb signs compact as Pokagon Band seeks a higher level of gaming

Pokagon Band Tribal Chairman Matthew Wesaw and Gov. Eric Holcomb as they sign a Class III gaming compact. (photo courtesy: Pokagon Band of Potawatomi)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Governor Eric Holcomb has signed a bill that helps clear the way for a South Bend casino to offer Class III gaming, including table games like blackjack and craps, as well as sports wagering. The measure ratifies a compact with the Michigan-based Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians who own and operate Four Winds Casino in St. Joseph County.

“This history-making compact builds upon the foundation of the strong relationship between the State of Indiana and the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi and is a win for everyone involved,” said Holcomb.

In August 2019, the band announced plans to negotiate a compact with Indiana as it sought the more lucrative level of gambling.

Last month, the Indiana General Assembly approved the measure. While the compact has state approval, it must still receive approval from the U.S. Department of Interior, which has regulatory oversight through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“Having a Class III Gaming Compact with Indiana will enable us to operate our South Bend casino, Four Wind South Bend, in a similar manner as our three other Four Winds Casinos in Michigan and the commercial casinos in Indiana,” said Pokagon Band Tribal Chairman Matthew Wesaw. “Additional revenue generated from Four Winds South Bend will support essential programs and services for not only our nearly 6,000 Tribal Citizens and other Native Americans living in the region, but also Indiana residents.”

Four Winds Casino opened in 2018 with 1,400 electronic gaming machines, but no gaming tables.

The Pokagon Band says the compact is the first piece of Pokagon Band legislation passed in Indiana. The Department of Interior has 45 days to decide on whether to approve the compact.

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