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Tribe withholds casino payment

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The Potawatomi Tribe is refusing to pay its annual casino revenue fee to the state, saying it would get that money back and more if a competing casino is approved in Kenosha. Governor Scott Walker told lawmakers yesterday the payment was due June 30th -- and because the state has only limited reserves, it's having an effect on the current state budget.

The Journal Sentinel says the Potawatomi is holding back $25-to-30 million, a figure that's based on what the tribe paid this month to the city and county of Milwaukee. The Republican Walker has until next February to decide whether to approve the Menominee Tribe's proposed Hard Rock casino and hotel in Kenosha -- which could cut into the Potawatomi's Milwaukee business as the only current casino in heavily-populated southeast Wisconsin.

Democrats have been urging Walker to act on the Kenosha casino before the November elections, but administration officials say arbitration will be needed between the state and the Potawatomi. The tribe's gaming compact requires the state to reimburse losses it suffers from a Kenosha casino -- but officials say the process is not spelled out, hence the need for arbitration.

The A-P says the Walker administration is trying to negotiate a deal on the off-setting of losses. The Menominee tribe has said it would help cover the financial impact from the Kenosha project on other tribes.