Michigan Casino Expansion Amendment (2010)

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Michigan Casino Expansion Amendment did not appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Michigan as an initiated constitutional amendment. However, on petition deadline day, July 5, supporters said they failed to collect a sufficient number of signatures to meet the minimum signature requirement.[1][2]

The proposal called for authorizing non-tribal casinos in Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Benton Harbor, Muskegon and Port Huron. The proposal also included a casino at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.[3][4][5] The proposed amendment also called for making sports betting legal in casinos including existing locations and using tax generated funds from corporate casino wagering to fill state budget gaps.[6][7] Originally the proposal included Romulus, however in April 2010 the city was dropped and Port Huron was added.[8][9]

Background

In 2004, an advisory ballot proposal for an Indian-owned casino in Flint was approved by voters but never came to fruition. The advisory vote had no legal weight. Voters approved the proposed measure by 55 percent. A year later Former Flint Mayor Don Williamson proposed a local development that included a casino operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Like the 2004 measure, the mayor's proposed casino never came to fruition.[10]

The state of Michigan, at the time of the 2010 proposal, had a total of 23 casinos. According to officials Detroit's casinos saw revenue decline in 2009 for the first time since their existence.[11]

Ballot summary

According to the Muskegon Chronicle the measure called for "up to 19 percent of adjusted gross receipts be used as a wagering tax paid to state and local governments."[6]

Collected funds were proposed to be used as follows:

  • 20 percent towards the Pure Michigan national advertising campaign
  • 38 percent towards the Michigan Promise scholarship grant program
  • 20 percent towards local units of government where the casino is located
  • 2 percent towards the county government where the casino is located
  • 20 percent towards the state school aid fund

Support

The measure was sponsored by a group called Michigan is Yours, which was co-chaired by Benton Harbor Mayor Wilce Cooke and Frank Stella, a Detroit businessman and "head of the 1988 Detroit Gaming Commission," according to reports.[6]

  • Benton Harbor Mayor Wilce Cooke supported the proposed measure. He said, "High unemployment, foreclosures -- we've been hard hit. We have to be smart to generate new forms of revenue, and I think this is one way to do that."[11][12]

Opposition

Casino measure opponents argued that Michigan already had a significant number of casinos and past expansions hadn't aided the state economically. According to officials and opponents the state had the nation's highest unemployment rate.[11] In mid-April 2010 Protect MI Vote announced they were opposed to the proposed amendment. Opponents argued that the proposal would undermine a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment and remove local communities their right to vote on the proposals.[13] Protect MI Vote was a coalition of anti-gambling social conservatives, local chambers of commerce, the Michigan Sheriff's Association, several state Indian tribes with casinos in operation and the MGM Casino in Detroit, according to reports. The coalition was also opposed to a proposal to allow casinos at the state’s five horse racing tracks.[14]

Arguments

  • James Muffett, president of Citizens for Traditional Values, said, "You're talking about crime. You're talking about taking away from other restaurants and businesses in the area that are already there. You're talking about harming the other entertainment venues that are already there. You're talking about prostitution, bankruptcy, families being compromised because of the addictions and the problems that surround gambling."[15]
  • Jim Nye, spokesperson for Protect MI Vote said, "Any responsible voter should look at the two ballot proposals’ language and be concerned if not outraged." Nye added that the coalition's motive is primarily economic in regards to the coalition's support and interest from several Indian and corporate casinos. However, Nye said it doesn't "take away from the fact that these ballot petitions are flawed and should not be supported. Michigan cannot absorb (13) more casinos and have it benefit the state."[14]

Path to the ballot

See also: Michigan signature requirements

In order to qualify the measure for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot, a minimum of 382,129 valid signatures were required by July 5. On deadline day, however, supporters said they failed to meet the minimum signature requirement.[16][17][18]

See also

Articles

External links

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. FOX 28,"Initiatives fail to make Michigan ballot," July 6, 2010
  2. Associated Press,"Health care, gambling proposals don't make ballot," July 9, 2010
  3. Associated Press,"Gambling expansion proposals target Michigan ballot," February 26, 2010
  4. Muskegon Chronicle,"Group seeks statewide ballot proposal to allow non-Indian casinos, including one in Muskegon," February 26, 2010
  5. Michigan Secretary of State,"Michigan Statewide Ballot Proposal Status: November 2, 2010 general election," April 19, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Muskegon Chronicle,"Non-tribal Muskegon casino would require a amending Michigan's Constitution," February 27, 2010
  7. The Detroit News,"Push on for casino vote signatures," April 17, 2010
  8. Associated Press,"Casino ballot plan adds Port Huron, drops Romulus," April 16, 2010
  9. WTAQ,"You Could Be Voting For Casino Expansion," April 22, 2010
  10. The Flint Journal,"Proposal would allow casinos in Flint," February 28, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Associated Press,"Measures would allow new casinos," March 8, 2010
  12. The Detroit News,"Some Michigan cities bet casinos would boost economy," March 18, 2010
  13. Associated Press,"Opposition group forms to fight casino proposals," April 20, 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 Muskegon Chronicle,"Casino opponents says proposals to expand gambling are bad policy," May 18, 2010
  15. UpNorthLive.com,"Flint casino: Jobs or trade offs?," March 8, 2010
  16. The Michigan Messenger,"No new referendums on November ballot," July 6, 2010
  17. Muskegon Chronicle,"Corporate casino initiative fails," July 6, 2010
  18. WSJM-AM,"Casino Ballot Initiative Fails To Collect Needed Signatures," July 6, 2010