Governor approves Ho-Chunk casino near Beloit

MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Tony Evers has given his approval to the building of a Ho-Chunk Nation casino near Beloit, bringing the project one step closer to final authorization.

The governor announced his decision Wednesday in a press release.

Evers touted the economic impact of the project, which could create an estimated 1,500 long-term jobs and more than 2,000 construction jobs. The governor cited a submission to the U.S. Department of the Interior from the Ho-Chunk Nation for the numbers.

"As we work to bounce back from this pandemic, we must do everything we can to support economic development in communities across our state,," Evers said. "The Ho-Chunk Nation and local officials in Beloit and Rock County have been working together toward providing jobs and long-term economic support in the region, and this is an important step forward in making the Beloit casino a reality."

Evers said he agreed with an April 2020 determination by the secretary of the interior "that taking the land into trust for the purpose of gaming would be in the best interest of the Ho-Chunk Nation and would not be detrimental to the surrounding community."

"We are incredibly excited to have this great news of the Governor’s concurrence today," said Ho-Chunk Nation Vice President Karena Thundercloud. "We also want to thank the City of Beloit, Rock County, and our respective communities for all the support over the past several years."

The next stage in the approval process, according to the governor, is for the Department of Interior to make a final ruling on if it should take the land for the casino into public trust.

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