- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) - The DeKalb County Board has decided to delay voting on a resolution that would support efforts of a Native American tribe to open a 24-hour electronic bingo operation near the town of Shabbona.

Board Vice Chairman Tracy Jones told his constituents on Wednesday that the Prairie Potawatomi Nation has been a good neighbor, but he wants additional time for board members to learn more about the resolution’s impact.

On Aug. 4, the county’s Economic Development Committee voted to push the resolution for consideration before the full County Board, The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1NxG8hd ) reported. All but one member of the County Board voted on Wednesday to table the resolution and revisit it at a later date.

After progress on the project paused for seven years, the tribe revived plans earlier this month to build the gaming facility on 129 acres of its land, which would be held in trust with the federal government. Liana Onnen, the tribe’s chairwoman, said the land trust isn’t a requirement but having it would help mitigate any future issues.

“(We’re) doing it to make sure things move along without any question,” Onnen said.

The facility wouldn’t require a license from the state, but it would be regulated by a federal agency, the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Tribal leaders estimate the bingo hall would create 400 new jobs. They expect it to attract 930,000 visitors each year and contribute $12 million to the local economy.

“It’s going to be an economic engine and a job creator in this community,” Onnen said.

The tribe’s land came from Chief Shab-eh-na, the namesake of Shabbona, and has been part of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation since 1829. The tribe is located in Shabbona, a town of 1,000 residents, which is known for being home to Shabbona Lake State Park.

In 2008, an intergovernmental agreement between the county and tribe was approved in preparation for the bingo hall. According to the agreement, the country would receive either $800,000 or 2.5 percent of the facility’s net annual profits, a one-time payment of $15,000 and a $2,500 annual payment to the county health department for gambling addiction services. The tribe also would be required to make annual contributions to local nonprofits.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue, which regulates bingo and charitable gaming in Illinois, tells The Associated Press that the agency is unaware of any other Native American gaming facilities in the state.


Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com

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