- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - After progress on the project paused for seven years, DeKalb County and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation are moving forward with plans for the tribe to open a 24-hour electronic bingo operation.

On Tuesday, the county’s Economic Development Committee voted to send the full DeKalb County Board a resolution supporting efforts to have federal officials hold 129 acres of the tribe’s land in trust to build the bingo hall in the town of Shabbona. 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, The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1E81wlD ) reported. 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.

The county board is expected to vote on the resolution Aug. 19.

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This story has been corrected to show that the county’s Economic Development Committee is supporting efforts to build bingo hall, not a full casino.

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


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