Detroit OKs 30-year casino deals
By Paul
After months of negotiations, the Detroit City Council on Friday approved 30-year agreements with three casino operators, allowing them to build permanent facilities in a designated area by 2006.

In May, the City Council had rejected an agreement between Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and MGM Mirage, the MotorCity casino, which is 53.5 percent owned by Mandalay Resort Group, and the Greektown casino, owned by the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The revised deal, approved by the Council, calls for a new tax assessment on casino gross revenue of 1% beginning in 2006, provided that combined revenues are over $400 million a year. The tax revenues are earmarked for recreational capital improvements for the city.

Predictably, one casino executive enthused about the dealís benefits for Detroit.

'It's a quite positive development, it's good for the city,' Mandalay Resort Group President Glenn Schaeffer said. 'It'll bring the permanent casino to the market that much faster.'

An MGM Mirage spokesman was not immediately available to comment. The company closed a deal on Tuesday to buy a 25-acre parcel of land for a planned $500 million casino.

Both MotorCity and Greektown have said they plan to build 400-room hotels with their new facilities, as does MGM.

Earlier last week, MGM Mirage said it would have a site plan for the new casino within 120 days of approval. MGM' Mirageís current temporary facility in the city supplied about 10% of its total revenue in the first quarter of 2002.

The nearest large casino is across the river in Canada, in Windsor, Ontario.

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