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Gun Lake Tribe Has Ambitious Plans for a Giant Area Near its Casino in Michigan

Gun Lake casino, which is about 30 miles east of Lake Michigan, opened in 2011. Since then, it has expanded its casino, and now the tribal leaders of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians want to develop land contiguous to the casino. They plan to establish a town with hotels, restaurants and shops etc., in an area between Gun Lake Casino and the city of Wayland. Not much happens in Wayland with its 14,000 residents, but the surrounding area is about to undergo a major transformation.


Continually expanding its business


The tribe has continually expanded its business since Gun Lake Casino opened. Recently it completed a $100 million renovation and added 76,000 square feet of gaming space. It announced in April 2021 that it would invest another $300 million into the casino. This new expansion is expected to finish in 2025 and will offer guests over 250 hotel rooms and an indoor Aquadome that features three pools. 


Additionally, the tribe launched Gun Lake online casino in 2021. It provides a large variety of iGaming and online betting options for players. Users can play all their favorite games, including video slots and progressive jackpot slots, and benefit from bonus rounds, free spins, and plenty more.


Buying up land 


The tribal leaders have been buying up land since the opening of the casino and now own about 1,200 acres altogether. It consists mostly of farmland north of the casino. Families living on the land for many years sold their land to the tribal leaders, and the tribe bought up at least five properties.


The biggest sale was in 2018, when the tribe paid $1,3 million for 47 acres. In the same year, it paid $350,000 for three acres. Most of the land is between 133rd and 128th avenues. 


Tribal leaders plan to continue buying any land adjacent to the casino to put in a trust. Being in a trust means it’s not subject to taxes, and the tribe will govern the land. Federally recognized tribes have to prove a historical link to the land they acquire to designate it as sovereign tribal territory. 


Construction could start next year


The tribal leaders will take about six months to develop a plan. They will explore all types of opportunities and businesses to complement what they’re doing already. It will be a draw for travelers who can not only spend time enjoying casino games but can take advantage of all the other things going on. 


Michigan travelers are likely to see some of the construction start to take place within the next year, but it could take a couple of decades for the ambitious plans to come to full fruition.