Gov. Walker rejects Kenosha casino; Rep. Kerkman calls decision “a true disappointment”

roulette-wheel-sxc-Richard-StylesGov. Scott Walker has informed the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs that he will not approve the establishment of a Menominee Tribe casino in Kenosha on the site of the shuttered Dairyland Greyhound Park.

In a media release issued Friday, Walker said:

After a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact of the proposed Kenosha casino project, the risk to the state’s taxpayers is too great. Due to the compacts negotiated by Governor Doyle, the current cost to taxpayers of approving the proposed casino project is up to $100 million and the long-term economic hit to the state budget would be a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. We have had tremendous success in helping grow quality, family-supporting jobs in Kenosha, including the recent Amazon, InSinkErator, and Meijer Distribution Inc. expansions. We remain committed to using state resources effectively to continue growing the economy and creating jobs in Kenosha and around the state.”

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, whose district includes most of Western Kenosha County, had been a strong advocate of approving the casino. She released the following statement Friday:

The announcement that Governor Walker has rejected the Kenosha casino comes as a true disappointment.  I am saddened at the loss of potential for Kenosha County and for the State of Wisconsin.  Great strides were made along the path to this determination and I greatly respect the diligence shown by Governor Walker to try to bring us to a more positive decision.  Ultimately, the compact negotiated by Governor Doyle with the Forest County Potawatomi provided more obstacles than could be reasonably overcome in the decision timeframe.  We need to keep our focus forward. We will continue to explore other opportunities to bring additional jobs to Kenosha and grow opportunity in southeastern Wisconsin through a pro-job and strong business focus.   While this particular option will not move forward, I believe that recent Kenosha boom will spark even more development and look forward to entertaining additional options for growing the Kenosha economy.”

UPDATE 12:25 p.m. — Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser issued this statement Friday:

As I have said all along, Kenosha County will be fine with or without the casino, but there is no denying that the casino would have brought an even bigger economic boost to the Kenosha County community, the region and the State … “I do hope that Governor Walker will work with us to do even more to attract new businesses and new jobs to our area and will put a greater emphasis on our infrastructure needs here. There is now a large tract of land that was the greyhound park that needs to be redeveloped. We hope state resources will be forthcoming to assist in these efforts … Kenosha County remains a red hot development area and we will work even harder to make up for all the potential jobs that would have been gained through the casino project. I believe in the future of Kenosha County and we will continue to thrive and grow.”

Kreuser also addressed the project’s advocates who worked for its approvals:

Your hard work and advocacy was not wasted. You fought a good fight, but now we need to come together to move the community forward without this project.”

UPDATE 12:27 p.m. — State Sen. Van Wanggaard issued this statement Friday:

While I respect the Governors decision to reject the Kenosha Casino, I believe this is the wrong choice for Kenosha, Racine and Wisconsin. This is especially true given the Menominee’s agreement to indemnify the state for lost revenue. Governor Doyle and his sweetheart compact with the Potawatomi have killed the largest private investment in Wisconsin history. This has cost the state over 1,600 jobs and a projected $1 billion in revenue. I will meet with my colleagues in the coming days to evaluate the situation and discuss what options we have to prevent this from occurring in the future. The good news is that the 21st Senate District is seeing an economic boom, and the area will continue to prosper even without a casino.”

Proponents of the casino said it would create 5,000 temporary and permanent jobs.



  1. West of 45 Citizen says:

    Time for Samantha to go. Western Kenosha County needs to elect a TRUE FAMILY VALUES CONSERVATIVE

  2. Branden says:

    I know it may be a disappointment to some, but Honestly with Casinos 60 miles North, and South of us. Fiscally…you really think this was a good idea?? Jobs maybe for 15 years, but nothing set .. Kenosha felt the same way 50+ years ago with the Chrysler Power Plant. and 30 years ago with the Dog Track venture!! so many other ways to move this community into the next century. look to the World Trends, Tesla Autos, Renewable Energy Projects, Rail, Infrastructure, the Lake Shore literally crumbling from Kenosha to Milwaukee. many other ways to employee and make a profit here in Kenosha County.. if we break away from Lobby $$$$ and look what will actually help our situation here in Keno.. we may have something to look forward too!! in the future.

  3. Should have Rolled the Dice says:

    Casinos north and south? True, but have you been to ones in Illinois? They are very small, comparatively. (They’re Boats.) You can stand in one end and see the other. You also can’t smoke in them.

    Now I don’t smoke but a lot of people do and I will guess that for this size difference and the smoking, Kenosha would have been 60/40 or even 70/30 Illinois customers. That’s NEW money coming into the state. A bigger pie over all to split with Milwaukee, not a smaller one.

    That said I think this decision puts an end to Walkers presidential whim. Is he going to get a bump from the religious right by putting down gambling? Sure, but he lost me on the fiscal side, and that’s where this country’s leadership should be focusing right now. And while $100. million is a lot of money, (to Wisconsin) it’s peanuts to Washington and the country as a whole.

    If Walker couldn’t figure out a way to fix something that Doyle did, how is he going to fix what Obama has done. ( You can bet his opponents will use this against him)

    He should have ‘Rolled the Dice’, fought the lawsuit and let the Menominee work out the money later.

  4. Ughh says:

    As much as I really could care less about the casino itself, it would have been pretty cool to have the Hard Rock here. It would have brought in quite a bit of top name shows without having to travel to the bad side of Milwaukee for something mediocre. I wouldn’t doubt if Illinois now explores putting something like this right on the border, rendering any objection from the Potowatami tribe useless. Its just sad to think that we’re still dealing with the ramifications of a bad governor in Doyle. .

  5. Ramblin Gamblin Man says:


  6. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Word says:

    Anybody remember the Walker campaign running ads with Mary Burke and Jim Doyle featured together… know…trying to tie her to Jim Doyle’s past. I suspect you will soon see pictures of Scott Walker and Jim Doyle featured prominently together……you know..the 2 governors that derailed the Kenosha Hard Rock casino project! Smile for the camera, fellas!

  7. Doyle Dollars says:

    Samantha, Robin, Van, et all are pretty QUICK to point out that “Jim Doyle and his Sweetheart compacts” are the reason that Walker would not approve the casino. Wisconsin receives @$100 million ANNUALLY from all 11 tribes(when the Potawatomi feel like paying their $25 mil). Money that Jim Doyle’s administration negotiated. Perhaps Samantha could explain how we would fare without that annual $100 mil.

  8. re: Should have Rolled the Dice says:

    “Casinos north and south? True, but have you been to ones in Illinois? They are very small, comparatively. (They’re Boats.) You can stand in one end and see the other.”

    Ummm. You’ve never been to Rosemont, I take it…? Pretty sure you can’t see from one end to the other and I know it’s not a boat..

    Good decision by Governor Walker. Let’s remember that the only way a casino makes money is if its visitors lose money.

    Samantha has to go! Time for someone who legislates with Wisconsin families in mind.

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