Officials at two of Detroit’s three casions, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity, say they will begin construction as soon as they reassess their long-term plans. Greektown Casino officials have said they may not move forward with a permanent facility, mostly because of last year’s increase in the state’s casino tax rate, which is now 33 percent.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says he wants the casinos to break ground as soon as possible.
“I have a big hammer … they have got to state,” he said.
All three casinos have been in temporary facilities since 1999 and 2000. A 2002 injunction against building permanent facilities has left the casinos operating just as they had when they opened.
The injunction stemmed from the 202 lawsuit against MGM Grand brought by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, who claimed MotorCity and Greektown casinos were given preferential treatment when former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer awarded the original casino licenses.
MotorCity and Greektown eventually agreed to settle with the tribe, paying it $39 million over 20 years. MGM regused to settle and won a court injunction preventing construction of any permanent hotel-gambling complexes in Detroit until the matter was resolved.
The Lac Vieux tribe’s attorney said she had mixed feelings about the case’s resolution.
“We are pleased the court has approved the settlements and feel vindication our constitutional rights in the bidding process were at least partially violated,” said Conly J. Schulte. “On the other hand, we are disappointed the court of appeals dismissed our claims with MGM.”
Schulte said the tribe may or may not appeal.
The eight-year legal battle, from selection process to openings to court case, have cost each party involved millions of dollars in legal fees. It has cost Detroit the missed opportunities available with the planned large-scale entertainment and hotel casino complexes.