- The Four Winds South Bend Casino is operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
- The Pokagon Band operates three Four Winds Casino locations in Michigan where they have a Class III tribal gaming compact signed with the state.
- Sports betting in Indiana is already operating in eight commercial casinos around the state.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The beginning stage of bringing Class III gaming to the South Bend Four Winds Casino has officially started. Class III games include table games such as blackjack, roulette, and craps and could also include sports wagering as well.
The announcement comes following a letter sent by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to the governor’s office on Aug. 13. The letter indicated that the Pokagon Band was ready to negotiate a tribal gaming compact with the state in order to expand their current gaming operations.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has appointed Sara Gonso Tait, the executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, to gather a team together in order to negotiate with the tribe on behalf of the state.
“We’re still early in the process, and that’s the most I can tell you at this point,” said Tait in an interview with the South Bend Tribune.
Even so, the Pokagon Band are planning to hold a press conference at their South Bend Casino location on Wednesday in order to announce an expansion.
Four Winds Casino in South Bend was first opened in January of 2018. The Tribe has only been able to offer Class II gaming options such as bingo and poker rooms, required only to donate 2% of the casino earnings or $1 million to the local government. The amount depends on which is greater.
In September of last year, the city received $1.2 million from the casino and in January of 2019, Mayor Pete Buttigieg expressed his gratitude via Twitter.
Tribal gaming compacts usually come with some sort of exclusivity granted to a tribe in return for a higher tax percentage of retained earnings for the sate government. Indiana already has over a dozen commercial gaming facilities, almost all of which will offer legal sports betting in the near future.
With sports betting in Indiana being so accessible, it may not give the state much leverage in coming up with a new tax rate to be assessed with a possible tribal compact. However, details of the deal are yet to be determined.
Indiana statute calls for a compact to have a governor’s approval and for the agreement to be ratified by the General Assembly. Legislative sessions in Indiana usually last from January to April. This means new games and a possible Indiana sportsbook may not come to Four Winds until late next year.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.