Scott Walker rejects job & revenue creating Kenosha Hard Rock casino

In a move that seems to be all about his 2016 presidential aspirations and nothing else, Republican Gov. Scott Walker announced yesterday he will reject the Menominee tribe’s proposed Hard Rock Casino in Kenosha.

Walker, who is exploring a presidential campaign, put the kibosh on the casino one day before he heads to Iowa, an important state in the presidential sweepstakes. Some Iowa conservatives have urged the governor to veto the Kenosha casino.

Walker said his presidential aspirations had no bearing on his decision. Rather, he put the onus for killing the proposal on his Democratic predecessor, former Gov. Jim Doyle. Walker said that his administration had been working to strike a deal that would have potentially allowed a casino in both cities while protecting taxpayers.

As I noted earlier Gov. Walker’s decision to reject the proposed casino seems motivated entirely by his desire to be more palatable to conservatives who’ll decide on the next Republican presidential nominee, rather than being motivated by a genuine desire to act in the best interests of the citizens of Wisconsin.

After all, according to a consultant study of the Menominee tribe’s proposed Kenosha casino, while the Kenosha casino would siphon some business from casinos operated by the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk tribes, it would have had a positive overall economic impact.

But the Nathan Associates report also noted the positive impact of a casino that would have been developed and managed by Hard Rock International, a firm owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe.

“The positive impacts of the proposed…casino in Kenosha and Menominee counties overwhelmingly outweigh the negative impacts in Milwaukee County and the Ho-Chunk Nation because the proposed Kenosha casino will create more new economic activity than it will cannibalize,” Huebsch wrote in the report summarizing the consultants’ reports.

Upon hearing word of Gov. Walker’s decision, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was quick to voice his disagreement, saying that he believed Gov. Walker got this decision wrong. For once, I’m actually inclined to agree with Robin Vos, because the Kenosha casino would have created lots of good jobs and would have been a boost for Kenosha’s economy, but instead now that community will continue to have a large piece of vacant lab and no new jobs along with it.


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6 thoughts on “Scott Walker rejects job & revenue creating Kenosha Hard Rock casino

  1. The regressive radical right has gone back to their usual playbook, and are blaming Governor Doyle’s policies for “forcing Walker’s hand” on this decision. My response to them has been to ask, “If this was due to Jim Doyle, then why did it literally take Walker years to come to this decision, and on a Friday, no less?” They don’t have an answer.

  2. Tommy Thompson, a liberal? The important step you missed is understanding the history of the gaming compacts with the Wisconsin Tribes. Couldn’t agree with you more that monopolies are bad. We should go after them all starting with the most impactful to our economic prosperity – telecom, the big three financials, agribusiness. What are Republicans proposing to break up these industries, allow competition to flourish and drive lower prices?

  3. This should be a nonpartisan issue. All gambling should be illegal, including the state lottery, casinos and dog tracks. Gambling destroys communities and particularly fleeces the poor. Considering the social problems caused by gambling — the state would save money by prohibiting it.

    1. If it’s legal, it can be regulated and taxed. If it’s illegal, crime syndicates make money, the vulnerable suffer even more AND silently, and no revenue for the state, of course. Prohibition fails.

  4. I posted this at Urban Milwaukee, but wanted to get it out to Blogging Blue to bring more attention to it. Think this is about to get weird…

    The groups from Iowa sending letters and petitions are a sideshow. Follow the people/money most involved in opposing the Kenosha casino and it leads right back to Club For Growth and the John Doe 2.

    Part 1 – Who is spending money?:
    1) Enough Already Wisconsin Inc. has been the most active anti-casino group doing major TV and Radio buys the last couple months, including a Super Bowl ad in Milwaukee. That means they have some serious money coming from somewhere.
    2) Go to their website:
    3) Try to make a donation to their cause. Guess what? You can’t! The “Contribute” button links back to the home page.
    4) So they’ve got money for a big media campaign, but can’t accept donations over their website. They must be getting a big grant from somebody, right?

    Part 2- Where is the money coming from?:
    1) A list of Enough Already’s officers can be found on pg. 4 of this advertising contract:
    2) Note that Enough Already’s Treasurer is James Michel
    3) James Michel is also Executive Director of anti-casino group Citizens for a Strong Sheboygan, which declares on its website that it is “a project of Citizens for a Strong America.” See also:
    4) Citizens for a Strong America has gotten almost all of their past funding (and more or less been a front group for) WI Club for Growth. Both groups are right in the thick of the John Doe 2 probe.

    Additionally, Enough Already WI’s Executive Director is Brian Nemoir. He ran Prosser’s 2011 campaign and Thompson’s 2012 campaign. I bet he knows a thing or two about dark money.

    Whatever the reasoning behind it (and it’s not Iowa conservatives), the same groups and donors that have supported and coordinated with Walker all along are the ones most active in trying to kill the Kenosha casino.

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