THE NOTTAWASEPPI HURON BAND OF THE POTAWATOMI AND FIREKEEPERS CASINO HOTEL SET RECORDS WITH COMBINED 27.4 MILLION CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE AND LOCAL REVENUE SHARING BOARDS
(Battle Creek, Mich.) March 31, 2022 -The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP), owners of FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, today announced that outstanding performance in 2021 has established new records for contributions to the State of Michigan and the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB). A combined $27.4 million in combined contributions created check presentations of just over $21 million to the State of Michigan and $6.3 million to the FireKeepers LRSB.
Lifetime combined revenue sharing payments now exceed $260 million! Payments to state and local recipients have exceeded the prior twelve months every year, with the exception of 2020, when the casino was closed for almost three months due to the onset of COVID-19. This year’s payment to the State of Michigan totals more than $21 million, more than double the 2021 contribution and an increase of 11.4% over the 2019 allocation. The new payment to the FLRSB of over $6.39 million is 30% higher than one year ago and 9.2% better than 2019. This brings the total monies NHBP has contributed to the State of Michigan to over $194,538,497 million and $66,134,179 million to the FLRSB and creates a combined lifetime contribution, which totals $260,672,586!
Two checks were presented from NHBP and FireKeepers. The state check was presented to Michigan District 63 State Representative Matt Hall while the FLRSB check was presented to Chairperson Joe Caron.“Record revenue sharing distributions represent both the tribe’s continued substantial investments in this award-winning property and the dedication of our Team Members to deliver outstanding guest service,” stated Jamie Stuck, Tribal Council Chairperson for the NHBP. “Management and staff faced extreme labor shortfalls and waves of COVID variants, as we built and opened a beautiful hotel tower and additions to our casino and restaurant offerings."
FireKeepers has increased its employee base to 2,082 Team Members, another sign of its ever increasing economic value to the region. The focus on increasing jobs and providing an outstanding package of salaries and benefits is illustrated by cumulative paid labor costs which totaled $92.7 million in 2021, an increase of 20.8% over 2020. Since opening, the labor total exceeds $815.7 million. This investment includes total wages, health insurance, 401k match and incentives.
“The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi are the best owners in the hospitality industry. They invested in a beautiful second hotel tower and expansion of our resort, which will allow us to host and attract more guests to the local community. They provided strong incentives, leading wages, health benefits and twice-yearly bonuses for our Team Members,” stated Kathy George, Chief Executive Officer at FireKeepers Casino Hotel. “I am so proud of our Team Members for dealing with multiple challenges throughout the year, while continuing to welcome and appreciate the thousands of guests who visit us daily.”
The tribe and the casino also focus on reinvesting in local communities, plus hundreds of charitable endeavors throughout Michigan and neighboring states through donations and sponsorships. The most significant investment is The Fire Hub restaurant in downtown Battle Creek, which opened in 2017, and combines an exciting restaurant and bakery concept with an adjacent dignified Kendall Street Food Pantry, operating as an agency of the South Michigan Food Bank. An example of The Fire Hub’s success is seen in the monies raised in the Community Fund. $8,000 was presented to the South Michigan Food Bank, for their work to eliminate hunger, ensuring everyone has access to the nutrition they need to succeed.
FireKeepers enhances its brand awareness by sponsoring major events, such as the FireKeepers Casino 400, Michigan’s sole NASCAR Cup Series race, set for Aug. 7, at Michigan International Speedway and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Golf Championship, an Epson Tour, Road to the LPGA tournament, to be held July 29-31, 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 are appointed members to the Heritage Fund Board. In 2021, this fund provided financial assistance and/or reimbursement to eleven schools and educational services 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. Grant recipients include the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency (Kalamazoo RESA), providing funds to expand the Kalamazoo County Native American Family Meet Ups program, along with Okemos Public Schools to rebrand to a new mascot that is culturally responsive, and public school projects in Traverse City, Saugatuck, Sault Area, East Jordan, Northport, the Vivian Riddle Elementary School in Lansing, Rochester Community Schools, Michigan Technical University and Michigan College Access Network (MCAN)/Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College.
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. Therefore, spending in the State of Michigan, especially in our local areas, grew substantially in awarding contracts in excess of $71.2 million in 2021 and exceeding $656 million lifetime.• Greater Calhoun County Region $6.1 million (Calhoun, Jackson, Branch)
• West Michigan $10.7 million (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren)
• Lansing Area $36.5 million (Ingham, Eaton, Clinton)
• Metro Detroit $2.5 million (Wayne)
• Other $15.4 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 thirteenth distribution since the first distribution in Feb. 2010, when the NHBP presented a check to the FLRSB for nearly $2 million. The $66,134,179 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
About The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the PotawatomiNHBP, a federally recognized Tribal government with more than 1,600 enrolled Tribal Members, gained federal recognition December 19, 1995. The Tribe’s main offices are located at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation near Athens, Michigan, and in Grand Rapids, Michigan. NHBP provides benefits, programs and services to Tribal Members through various Tribal government departments, as well as a Tribal Police Department, Tribal Court and Gaming Commission.
NHBP’s economic development entities include FireKeepers Casino Hotel, a Vegas-style casino, and Waséyabek Development Company, LLC, which focuses on the pursuit of non-gaming, economic diversification opportunities.
For more information visit www.nhbp-nsn.gov.
FireKeepers Casino Hotel, located just off Interstate 94 at Exit 104 in Battle Creek, MI, has been named Best Casino by audiences in Western Michigan and Northern Indiana, plus earned multiple awards in the Casino Player Magazine Best of Gaming 2021 Native Midwest category. FireKeepers was recognized as 2019 Employer of the Year by Michigan Works! Association and was also selected as one of the Best Casinos to Work For by Casino Player Magazine. FireKeepers' signature restaurant, Nibi, is a multiple recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. The property features 2,900 slot machines, 70 table games, and a 26-table live poker room. FireKeepers offers a AAA-rated Four Diamond resort-style hotel with 446 rooms, a functional multi-purpose event center, six distinctive dining destinations, and multiple lounges. FireKeepers is the title sponsor of the FireKeepers Casino 400, a NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, and a host of the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship an EPSON Tour-Road to the LPGA golf event.
For more information, visit www.firekeeperscasino.com.