HUDSON, Wis., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixty three percent of Hudson residents say they oppose a proposal to create an off-reservation Indian casino at St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Track, in Hudson, Wis., according to a survey released today. Of those residents who oppose the casino, 60 percent believe it would negatively impact the quality of life in Hudson. The survey of Hudson residents was conducted Sunday, Aug. 27, just four days prior to the end of the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) public comment period. The casino is being proposed by three Indian tribes and a Florida businessman who currently owns the dog track. DOI rejected the same proposal in 1995, but it recently agreed in a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the three tribes to reconsider their application and the Department's earlier decision. According to the survey, 33 percent of those who oppose the casino cite an increase to crime and pollution from noise and lights as reasons for their opposition. Other top reasons for Hudson residents' opposition to the casino include: its proximity to a local YMCA camp and proposed school sites (11 percent), an increase in traffic the casino may cause (7 percent) and an objection to gambling (15 percent). Nearly 19 percent say they oppose the casino for all the reasons listed in the survey. Nearly 47 percent of Hudson residents feel more research needs to be done regarding the casino's potential impact on the environment. The current proposal relies on an environmental assessment from 1988. Overall, 83 percent of Hudson residents feel the casino is a divisive and controversial issue. The Prairie Island Indian Community commissioned the survey. The tribe opposes the casino because of its proximity to Prairie Island and the likely negative impact on the tribe's gaming operation. The tribe also is concerned about setting a dangerous precedent for off-reservation gambling near major metropolitan areas that could lead to an expansion of non-Indian and Indian gaming alike. "A Hudson casino would make people's decision to gamble easier than ever before and their decision on where to gamble easier yet," said John Knapp, an attorney representing the tribe. "There have already been rumblings that if the Hudson casino is allowed to proceed, it will add credence to some Minnesota legislators' arguments for a state-operated casino in the Twin Cities. It could lead to casinos in Wisconsin and Minnesota becoming as available to people as lottery tickets. This casino is not what Congress had in mind when it passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act." Prairie Island is suing the DOI for not following federal law by consulting with nearby tribes and local communities about the impact that the new casino would have on them. A representative sample of 300 residents from Hudson, Wis. participated in the survey conducted by SWR Worldwide. SWR Worldwide is a nationally recognized full-service opinion and market research firm based in Washington, D.C. The participants were contacted via telephone; the results have a margin of error of +/- 5.7. The 550-member Prairie Island Indian Community is a federally recognized Indian Nation, located 60 minutes southeast of the Twin Cities along the Mississippi River. The Community owns and operates Treasure Island Resort & Casino.
SOURCE Prairie Island Indian Community