Bureau of Indian Affairs gives approval to putting land in trust for Beloit casino

BELOIT, Wis. — The Bureau of Indian Affairs has given its final approval to put nearly 33 acres into a trust so the Ho-Chunk Nation can move ahead with plans to build a casino in Beloit, officials announced Friday.

In a joint news release Friday afternoon, the Ho-Chunk Nation and City of Beloit said the move will allow the tribe to move ahead with the final design and construction of the casino. Current plans call for the facility to include a hotel, convention space, water park, dining venues and retail space.

 

Gov. Tony Evers signed off on the casino’s development plans in March 2021.

Looking ahead, Ho-Chunk Nation public information officer Ryan Greendeer said the tribe will be finalizing plans and working with the city on a development agreement. Currently, there is no set timeline as to when construction could begin and end.

Officials have touted the project as a major economic boost as the area recovers from pandemic-related impacts, drawing in tourists from as far away as the Chicago area.

“This project is going to be an economic engine for this entire region,” Beloit city manager Lori Curtis Luther said. “We are looking so forward to the 3,000 construction jobs, to the 1,300 permanent jobs once it’s fully complete, and that alone is going to be a major driver. We are just thrilled to finally have this ultimate approval in place.”

“With those numbers being just the project, imagine feeding an army of that many construction workers and the child care, all of the other activities that happen around a project like this,” Greendeer added.

FROM 2021: ‘A long time coming’: Construction on Ho-Chunk casino in Beloit possible in next year

The casino has been in the making in its current form since 2012, though efforts to build a casino in Beloit date back roughly two decades.

The Ho-Chunk Nation also has casinos in Black River Falls, Madison, Nekoosa, Tomah, the Wisconsin Dells and Wittenberg.