THE NOTTAWASEPPI HURON BAND OF THE POTAWATOMI AND FIREKEEPERS CASINO HOTELS ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STATE OF MICHIGAN AND LOCAL REVENUE SHARING BOARD EXCEEDS $26 MILLION FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
(Battle Creek, Mich.) March 1, 2023 - The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP), owners of FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, announced their contributions to the State of Michigan and the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB) today. For the second consecutive year, combined contributions exceed $26 million and lifetime combined contributions exceed $287 million. A combined $26.4 million in combined contributions created check presentations of just over $20 million to the State of Michigan and $6.1 million to the FireKeepers LRSB.
This brings the total monies NHBP has contributed to the State of Michigan to over $214,822,819 and $72,330,282 to the FLRSB and creates a combined lifetime contribution, which totals $287,153,100!
Two checks were presented from NHBP and FireKeepers. The state check was presented to Nate Engle, Regional Liaison of Community Affairs for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, while the FLRSB check was presented to FLRSB Chairperson Derek King.
“These distributions reflect the ability of FireKeepers management and staff to leverage a beautiful property to attract and retain guests from across the region,” stated Jamie Stuck, Tribal Council Chairperson for the NHBP. “They faced challenges from staggering inflation and high gas prices, to tight labor markets and growing competition, with enthusiasm, and a compelling competitive drive to deliver excellent service.”
FireKeepers has increased its employee base to 2,072 Team Members, at a time when all business are competing for available talent in a tight labor market. The focus on increasing jobs and providing an outstanding package of salaries and benefits is illustrated by cumulative paid labor costs which totaled $104.2 million in 2022, an increase of 12.4% over 2021. Since opening, the labor total exceeds $919 million. This investment includes total wages, health insurance, 401k match and incentives. The property is on track to break the $1 billion dollar mark over the course of 2023.
“The FireKeepers Way is a path of hospitality excellence, where our team consistently delivers a Vegas-style experience, with a warm and welcoming environment, filled with engagement, enthusiasm and appreciation,” stated Frank Tecumseh, Chief Executive Officer at FireKeepers Casino Hotel. “We look forward to 2023 with optimism, based on our service history and an upcoming calendar filled with exciting promotions and superstar entertainment.”
The tribe and 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. $6,000 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. 6, at Michigan International Speedway and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Golf Championship, an Epson Tour, Road to the LPGA tournament, to be held June 9 -11, 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 2022, 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 Saranac Community Schools to rebrand to a new mascot that is culturally responsive, Hartford Public Schools to implement at new curriculum to help build meaningful connections with students, as well as Chippewa Hills and Lansing school districts, Michigan College Access Network, and Western Michigan University’s Native American Affairs Council.
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 million (Calhoun, Jackson, Branch)
- West Michigan $16.6 million (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren)
- Lansing Area $5.5 million (Ingham, Eaton, Clinton)
- Metro Detroit $2.9 million (Wayne)
- Other $22.3 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 $72,330,282 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 School
About The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi
NHBP, 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.