Michiana’s Native American tribe has begun construction on the first tribal casino in Indiana, just days after receiving sovereign status on 166 acres of land in South Bend.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians plans to build tribal housing and government facilities on its new land, too.
But tribal chair John Warren says the casino will play a central economic role when it’s completed in early 2018.
“It’s just like Indiana – they have the lottery system to fund their programs,” Warren says. “And that’s what Indian gaming is. It’s economic development to fund our services for our tribal citizens.”
The Pokagon Band already employs 2,600 people, including some tribal members, at its three Four Winds casinos in Michigan.
The South Bend casino’s dining, shops and slot machine areas will employ 1,200 more people, and create 700 construction jobs. All told, it’ll make the tribe one of the region’s top employers.
They’ll share at least $1 to $2 million, or 2 percent of casino revenues, with South Bend city services.
WVPE’s Jon Huber contributed to this report.