The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP), owners of FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Mich., announced today payments related to its 2017 business performance, establishing its third consecutive new annual record, with combined payments of over $23.7 million to the State of Michigan and the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB). The payment to the State of Michigan totals more than $18.1 million, an increase of 5.84 percent over the 2017 payment, while the payment to the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB) of over $5.6 million is 4.62% percent higher than one year ago. This brings the total monies NHBP has contributed to the State of Michigan to over $125.2 million and $43.2 million to the FLRSB and creates a combined contribution which totals $168,473,743 since FireKeepers Casino Hotel opened in Aug. 2009.
Two checks were presented from NHBP today; the first for $18,126,750 presented to State Senator Michael Nofs, whose 19th District spans Calhoun, Berry and Ionia counties. The second check for $5,656,690 was presented to newly-appointed FLRSB Chairman Derek King, who is also Chairman of the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners.
The funds distributed are part of a negotiated agreement between NHBP and the state for 2017 operations at NHBP’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel, located in Battle Creek, Mich.
“The leadership and tribal members of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi are proud to honor our agreements and create a positive impact to the State of Michigan and our Local Revenue Sharing Board and we are pleased with the growth displayed at FireKeepers Casino Hotel,” announced Jamie Stuck, Tribal Council Chairman of the NHBP. “The great performance of our FireKeepers team has created new jobs in 2017 and a destination resort that attracts guests from across Michigan plus large sections of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. The creation of great guest experiences creates a loyal factor that has been the foundation of our substantial revenue growth to support needs in our local communities.”
FireKeepers care for their team members is exemplified by the investment in labor costs, which increased 7.6% in 2017 vs 2016 and cumulative paid labor costs since opening now exceeds $484 million. This investment includes total wages, health insurance, 401(k), and incentives to the 1,742 total team members.
FireKeepers Casino Hotel is focused on delivering quality jobs, and assisting these team members with valued development and benefit programs. FireKeepers was just recognized as One of the Best and Brightest Companies To Work For® in the Nation by The National Association for Business Resources. FireKeepers Casino Hotel was the only casino recognized through an assessment from an independent research firm, which reviewed a number of key measures relative to other nationally recognized winners.
“The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi have provided the resources to present an award-winning resort,” stated Kathy George, Chief Executive Officer at FireKeepers Casino Hotel. “Our fabulous team creates a positive and welcoming atmosphere for our guests and that is a huge differentiator with our guests.”
The tribe and the casino also focus on reinvesting in local communities through donations and sponsorships. The biggest investment is the 2017 creation of The Fire Hub restaurant in downtown Battle Creek, which combines an exciting restaurant and bakery concept with an adjacent dignified Kendall Street Food Pantry, operating as an agency of the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. We also sponsor major events such as the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship, a Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA golf tournament at Battle Creek Country Club.”
A 2016 Compact Amendment between NHBP and the State of Michigan provides for a payment of up to $500,000 per year of state revenue sharing payments to the Michigan Native American Heritage Fund. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Chairperson Jamie Stuck and Vice Chairperson Dorie Rios were appointed to the Heritage Fund Board. This fund will provide financial assistance and/or reimbursement to local governments and educational institutions to defray the costs of projects that promote positive relationships and accurate information on the history and role of Michigan’s Indian tribes and Native Americans in the state.
The NHBP has made a concentrated effort to focus FireKeepers Casino Hotel on supporting local businesses and suppliers and extend contributions to the local economy beyond the FLRSB and the distribution to the state. The Tribe’s commitment to local spending has resulted in awarding contracts in excess of $41.4 million within the state of Michigan in 2017.
•Greater Calhoun County Region $6.5 million (Calhoun, Jackson, Branch)
•West Michigan $8.6 million (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren)
•Lansing Area $9.3 million (Ingham, Eaton, Clinton)
•Metro Detroit $2.8 million (Wayne)
•Other $14.2 million (Chippewa, Genesee, Gratiot, Ionia, Livingston, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mecosta, Midland, Monroe, Newaygo, Oakland, Saginaw, St. Clair, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Wexford)
The check presented to the FLRSB is the eighth distribution since the first distribution in Feb. 2010, when the NHBP presented a check to the FLRSB for nearly $2 million. 2018 marks the fifth consecutive year where annual payments have exceeded $5 million. The $43,213,602 distributed to date have benefited a diverse array of groups, including:
• Harper Creek Community Schools
• Calhoun County Road Commission
• Emmett Township
• Calhoun County
• Calhoun Intermediate School District
• Kellogg Community College
• Willard Library
• Athens Township
• Marshall Township
• City of Marshall
• City of Battle Creek
• Athens Area Schools
• Village of Athens
• Battle Creek Public Schools
• Marshall Public Schools
• Lakeview School District
• Pennfield Schools