Developer: Menominee Casino Could be Built in Northern Illinois | NBC Chicago
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Developer: Menominee Casino Could be Built in Northern Illinois

Hard Rock chairman is confident a casino will be built near the Wisconsin/Illinois border. The question is which state gets it.

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    Joe Raedle/Getty Images
    (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Just where will a new casino be built, Kenosha or Waukegan?

    The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin and Hard Rock International on Tuesday sweetened their pitch to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, offering $220 million towards a new Milwaukee Bucks arena if the Republican governor changes his mind and approves plans for a casino in Kenosha.

    "This proposal eliminates the need for state taxpayer funds to build a new arena," according to Tribal chairman Gary Besaw.

    The new arena is estimated to cost perhaps $500 million. The Bucks have threatened to leave Milwaukee by 2017 if they don’t have a new venue.The BMO Harris Bradley Center, where the Bucks currently play, opened in 1988.

    Walker last month rejected a casino proposal that supporters claim will create 3,000 jobs and more than 7,000 indirect jobs. His final decision on that proposal is due Feb. 19.

    Walker's administration secretary late Tuesday shot down the latest offer by the tribe and Hard Rock.

    "I don't believe these are genuine offers that they can fulfill," Mike Huebsch said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    But the developers suggested to reporters that if Wisconsin is not interested in the deal, officials in Illinois could be.

    "We received calls on Monday after the governor's decision. From elected officials and specific real estate owners in state of Illinois," said Jim Allen, Hard Rock's chairman.

    "I believe that facility is going to be built, whether it's on the Wisconsin side - which we are sincerely hoping the governor will reconsider, or on the Illinois side of the border. It's going to happen," he said. 

    Before any casino is built in Waukegan there would have to be legislative steps taken in Springfield.

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