Commercial casinos may be illegal in the state of Wisconsin, but that’s opened the door for a mass market among federally recognized tribes, like the Ho-Chunk Nation, who’s attract millions of customers to their gambling establishments each year. With revenue flowing freely, Ho-Chunk Gaming is about to spend $153 million on renovations at least three of its six Wisconsin casinos, including new video slots, restaurant space, hotel rooms and more.
The tribe announced the impending expansion of Ho-Chunk casinos in Black River Falls, Dells, Nekoosa and Wittenberg back in 2014. Now that preparations are finally in place to begin the renovations, it seems Nekoosa may have removed from that list.
The announcement on Tuesday confirmed that three of their Wisconsin casinos – those in Black River Falls, Dells and Wittenberg – will see renovations begin in September. No mention has been made of the previously intended expansion at Nekoosa, and all attempts by media to contact the tribe have been unrequited.
Expansion of Ho-Chunk Wisconsin Casinos
According to reports, Ho-Chunk Gaming offered a number of details concerning the expansion of it’s three casinos, slated to begin next month.
Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls will undergo an expansion of its casino gaming floor to include the installment of 200 new video slots, a high-limit gaming area and an additional 36 seats at the buffet. The tribe will also be building a new 120-room hotel and parking lot to complement the casino.
Ho-chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells already has a hotel, but will receive a face-lift in its hotel lobby, along with the addition of a hotel bar. The casino layout is being redesigned to provide a new live poker room, space for off-track betting and a larger non-smoking area for customers, along with renovations to the bingo room. The buffet here is also being enlarged.
The expansion at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg will see the property accommodating a new 86-room hotel and 84-seat restaurant and bar. The video slots and table games selections will be increased with 272 new machines and 10 additional tables, many of which are sure to be placed in the new high-limit and non-smoking gaming areas.
Local Communities are Hopeful Beneficiaries
The expansions at Ho-Chunk’s three Wisconsin Casinos are expected to bring 100 more jobs to those communities, adding to the 3,400 workers already employed across the tribe’s six gaming facilities. Over in Wittenberg, Village President William Switalla is counting on a positive domino effect.
By adding new jobs and more entertainment options to the small community, Switalla said he hopes the expansion will attract new residents to help “fill some of our empty houses.”
While visitors to the Wittenberg casino haven’t done much to lift up the communiy’s other businesses, Switalla said, “new things are always good”. He’s hoping the expansion will spur further development of the area.
Unlike most commercial casinos in the US, the Ho-Chunk Nation is not obligated to funnel a portion of its gaming revenue to surrounding communities, yet the tribe has done so willingly on a multitude of occasions. Switalla extolled the Ho-Chunk Nation for its commitment and generous contributions to community projects around Wittenberg over the years.