Beloit casino groundbreaking planned for this fall

Beloit casino groundbreaking planned for this fall Main Photo

1 May 2024

BELOIT — The long wait for a casino complex in Beloit is nearly over, as Ho Chunk officials have announce they plan a ground-breaking for the complex this fall.

Collin Price, consultant for the Ho Chunk Nation, said all elements of the project are nearly complete and everyone is fully supportive of the project.

“The tribal legislature is fully supporting the project. The executive branch is fully supportive of the project,” Price said. “We want to reassure the people of Beloit that we are fully behind this project.”


He estimated the construction will take about a year and a half. The casino complex project is about a $400 million investment by the Ho Chunk Nation.

Beloit city officials also are excited about the news.

“The City of Beloit continues to support the casino project as it moves forward. We look forward to the future groundbreaking and the jobs this development will create,” said Beloit City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos.

The compact amendment, which was one of the elements that had to be finalized before the project could move forward is nearing resolution. Price said the compact amendment is being finalized and once it is concluded all that will be needed will be the governor’s signature.

The project is to be located near the intersection of Willowbrook and Colley roads, and adjacent to Interstate 90 near the Wisconsin/Illinois state line.

Few changes have been made to the original plans for the project, Price said. However, there will be no water park at the project site as was originally planned.

The project will include the casino, restaurants, convention center and an 18-story hotel.

The convention center will be available to host concerts, banquets and business conferences.

Building permits still will be needed from the city and bids for construction still need to be advertised, Price said. Local contractors will be welcome to submit bids.

“It is important to us that we hire local,” Price said.


The casino will feature 1,500 to 1,800 gaming machines and 44 gaming tables. There also will be a sports bidding area at the casino project.

Once complete, the casino complex, including restaurants and the hotel, will have about 1,500 full and part-time employees. A portion of the employees will be Ho Chunk tribe members, but it will be a smaller percentage than the Ho Chunk Nation’s other facilities. Price said, throughout Wisconsin, about 37% of its workforce are tribal members.

About 3,000 construction workers will be employed as the complex is being built, Price said.

The tribe will not pay property tax, but a percentage of gambling winnings will go to the City of Beloit and Rock County and the State of Wisconsin. Price estimated the Beloit casino will provide $3 million to $5 million per year Beloit and Rock County. Initial figures stated 70% would go to the city and 30% would go to the county.

The revenue split is part of the intergovernmental agreement between the Ho Chunk, the city and the county. The intergovernmental agreement expire in 2022 because the compact amendment was not approved, but Price said the Ho Chunk Nation is prepared to sign the agreement again to renew it.

The Ho Chunk Nation has six other casino sites in Wisconsin — Black River Falls, Madison, Nekoosa, Tomah, Wisconsin Dells and Wittenberg.

Residents in Beloit have been waiting for years for a casino, with the first proposal being put forward in the late 1990s when the Bad River Lake Superior Chippewa and St. Croix Chippewa proposed a tribal casino in Beloit. A referendum was held in Beloit in 1999 with a majority of residents approving of a casino development.

However, the Chippewa proposal was unsuccessful, with the Department of Interior rejecting a proposal to place land in trust for a casino in 2001 and the Bureau of Indian Affairs rejecting the casino proposal in 2009.

The Ho Chunk Nation then purchased about 30 acres near Willowbrook and Colley roads in 2009, which is where the Chippewa had planned their casino.

In 2012, the Ho Chunk Nation first submitted its application to the Department of Interior for the Beloit Casino.

Finally, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers approved the Beloit Casino in March of 2021 and the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved placing 33 acres of land in trust for the casino project in May of 2022.

There have been delays in the project including delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, much of the plans for the project have to be cleared by several government agencies, Ho Chunk officials have said.

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