Tribe puts all their chips on the table with Mackinaw City casino plan

Mackinaw City residents will get their first chance to voice their opinions about the construction of a multi-million dollar casino.

Mackinaw City residents got their first chance to voice their opinions about the construction of a multi-million dollar casino.

Residents from all over the Village of Mackinaw City attended to either show their support or their opposition for the proposed casino.

A facility to be built just off of I-75 that would feature 500 slot machines, a small restaurant, and would cost the tribe 23 million dollars.

"I think it will put more heads in beds in our hotels, I think it will sell more hotel rooms, have more restaurant meals, and I think it will increase property and I seriously don't see anything negative affecting Mackinaw City as a result of that," Hotel owner Rick Babbitt explained.

Babbitt owns two hotels in Mackinaw City and he believes a new casino will help the villages future economy. But some community members like Pastor David Wallace says this issue is rooted less in economics and more in providing a family friendly town.

"At a previous community where I pastored, I saw several families that were affected by the addiction to gambling lives destroyed marriages broken up businesses literally closing because of the gambling that took place," Wallace said.

For many at the meeting this may have seemed like deja vu. Back in 2003, a similar plan was proposed, but was shut down after public backlash and a no vote by the Village Council.

But this time around, there are a new set of Village leaders with new decisions to make.

"We are going to take the information we gather from the session and put it together with other info, and there may be other follow-up conversations we have to have with the Odawas and some specifics on their proposal before we make that decision," Village President Jeff Hingston said.


he Village leaders say discussions will continue, but they don't have a set time frame as to when a final approval vote will be made. In the meantime, they say they will take all of the concerns and comments tonight into consideration as they move forward.