A smart gamble

With the Michigan economy and unemployment rate on a downward spiral, the news of any business opening is good news, especially when that business is expected to make a significant impact on the job market.

FireKeepers Casino has recently finished the construction of their parking structure and has moved to the main gaming structure with expectations of opening mid-summer.

The casino, which is located off of exit 104 on Interstate 94 in Battle Creek, is owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians and managed by Gaming Entertainment (Michigan), L.L.C. There are also plans for an adjacent hotel.

According to the casino’s Web site, (firekeeperscasino.com) , the casino plans to house over 2,600 slots, 78 game tables with a VIP lounge and eight restaurants.

There is no question that the casino will add to the entertainment factor of the area, but its greatest benefit is the 1,500+ jobs that it will offer to the citizens of Calhoun County. With so many businesses closing in the Michigan area, the addition of a casino is a step in the right direction of getting employment back on the rise in the area.

Firekeepers has been opening employment positions for the general public since January, and plans to start training employees throughout the month of April.

As Albion currently sits on a 6.5 percent unemployment rate, a business the size of Firekeeper’s is a positive investment that could stimulate the local economy.

Along with the total tax revenue that Firekeepers is expected to accrue, Calhoun County will receive a portion of the casino’s profits to put toward community projects.

Indian-owned casinos contribute over $1.3 billion a year to the federal, state and local economy, meaning that a share of Firekeepers’ profits will be portioned to Calhoun County.

With the facilities net worth expected to rise over the cost of $320 million, the extra tax dollars to the local economy will be a helpful contribution to revitalizing the area.

Opening a business through tough economical times is always a gamble when people are concerned about spending money. But when a business such a Firekeepers Casino offers the aspects of local employment along with the investments in local taxes, sometimes the reward is worth the risk.

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