Survey Finds Most Hudson Residents Oppose Casino; Sixty Percent Say Casino Would Negatively Impact Quality of Life

Aug 30, 2000, 01:00 ET from Prairie Island Indian Community

    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 &

SOURCE Prairie Island Indian Community