Will Shelby Township’s nearby neighbor be a new multimillion-dollar suburban casino? Not if local residents can convince their Clinton Township counterparts to vote against such a proposal if and when it comes to pass.
A positive decision by the State Board of Canvassers today could start the chain of events needed to bring a "suburban casino" to Macomb County.
A team of investors calling themselves the Committee for More Michigan Jobs is looking to ask voters in November to amend the state constitution to allow eight new casinos, including one at Hall Road and Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township.
The group must first gather 322,609 valid signatures by July 9 to get the issue on the November ballot, and then The Detroit Free Press estimates investors are prepared to spend some $50 million to convince voters to OK the proposal.
In addition to the Clinton Township location, other casinos are proposed for Detroit, next to the Renaissance Center; Pontiac, on the grounds of the Pontiac Silverdome; Romulus, near the airport; downtown Grand Rapids; Clam Lake Township, at the Eldorado Golf Course; DeWitt Township; and Birch Run, across from the shopping center.
Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon told The Macomb Daily on Sunday that the group is currently considering 19 acres of vacant land in the area of Hall Road between Gratiot Avenue and Interstate 94.
“I have long thought that property would be perfect for some type of entertainment complex because it would be visible from the freeway and has no immediate residential neighborhood that it would present a problem to,” he told The Macomb Daily.
While Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel was quoted as saying he would support Clinton Township’s efforts, the governor’s office has voiced its opposition to the expansion of any casinos in Michigan.
"What a bad idea. Casino is fun but brings crime. Time to move much farther north," wrote Kathy Viviano-Stewart on the Shelby-Utica Patch Facebook page.
"No! Casino's breed trouble and help good people go into debt," said Jeffery Berz.
What would Clinton Township and Macomb County get out of this financially?
Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon told the Free Press that the proposed casino is expected to create 1,500 full-time jobs and generate $2 million a year in property taxes for the township.
This revenue is expected to come in addition to millions of dollars collected in wagering taxes, which would be divided as follows:
- 30 percent of wagering tax revenue would be set aside for K-12 schools statewide
- 20 percent would distributed statewide for public safety
- 20 percent would go to the community in which the casino is located
- 20 percent would go to the county where the casino is built
- Statewide road repair and gambling addiction programs would each receive 5 percent of the tax revenue
If the casino proposal is approved, it would also lead to a new constitutional amendment that would raise the tax rate on all casinos to 23 percent. The current Detroit rate is 19 percent, according to the Free Press.
What would this suburban casino look like?
Unlike it's urban counterparts, a suburban facility would offer more "family-friendly entertainment options," such as indoor pools, video game facilities and concerts, said Andy McLemore Jr., a principal investor in the Detroit Casino Partnership, in an interview with the Free Press.
It will cost an estimated $200 million to $300 million to build the Clinton Township facility, which is expected to be around 125,000 square feet, according to The Macomb Daily.