Casino expansion dies in Michigan
A ballot initiative that would have allowed for seven more corporate casinos in Michigan, including one in Muskegon, has failed.
A coalition called Michigan Is Yours, which pushed the casino-expansion proposal, did not turn in the voter signatures needed - more than 380,000 - to make the November 2 ballot by Monday’s deadline, according to state election officials.
The proposal, if approved by voters, would have put in the state Constitution the ability of a company called My-Casino Inc. to establish corporate casinos in seven specific locations - the cities of Muskegon, Lansing, Detroit, Benton Harbor, Flint and Port Huron, along with the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
This failed ballot initiative is not connected to the proposed American Indian casino in Fruitport Township. A tribal casino does not require a vote of the people, but the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians needs several approvals of state and federal officials before the tribe’s proposed casino development can be built at the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack site.
The Michigan Is Yours proposal and a similar ballot proposal to allow casinos at the state’s five remaining horse racetracks, which also failed to turn in the required signatures, would have overturned Michigan voters’ wishes in 2004. In that election, voters amended the state Constitution to mandate a statewide and local community vote if new corporate casinos were to be established. The proposal for the seven additional corporate casinos would not have required voter approval at the local level.
Three commercial casinos operate in Detroit and 20 American Indian casinos are located throughout the state. A successful 1996 statewide referendum allowed for the three in Detroit.