Shullsburg Fee to Trust Land Acquisition Application

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Shullsburg?

The city of Shullsburg is located in Lafayette County in Southwestern Wisconsin on State Highway 11. It is centrally located between Dubuque, Iowa; Madison, Wisconsin; and Rockford, Illinois.

Why Shullsburg?

In early 2000, during the initial period of off reservation gaming expansion, Tribal representatives actively canvassed municipalities throughout Wisconsin. The response from Shullsburg, from the first meeting onward, was positive and remains so today. LDF has historical ties to the Shullsburg area. The area around present day Shullsburg, Wisconsin is within the boundaries designated by the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1825 for the Council of Three Fires which included the Chippewa, Ottawa, and the Potawatomie. A representative of the Lac du Flambeau signed the Treaty. This treaty was subsequently ratified by all Chippewa Tribes in the follow up gathering in Fond du Lac, Minnesota in 1826. This land was later ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829. The Chippewa retained the right to hunt on the lands ceded in this territory.

Who owns the land?

The tribe signed a purchase offer for 93 acres of land just outside the city of Shullsburg, on Highway 11, in November of 2000. The tribe purchased that land in December of 2004 for $357,000.

Why now?

The BIA had closed the door on off reservation trust land applications for gaming in January 2008. That decision was reversed by Secretary of Interior Salazar in June 2011. The BIA is again processing gaming related fee to trust land applications.

How do we know that Shullsburg still wants the project?

After a meeting with Tribal officials in December of 2011, Shullsburg officials immediately formed a casino project Citizen's Group Committee. Led by Shullsburg Mayor Tom Lethlean, the group is actively promoting the project in Shullsburg and in Madison. A new round of letters of support for the project have been sent to Governor Walker. Copies of letters from the City of Shullsburg, Shullsburg Redevelopment Authority, Shullsburg Community Development Corporation, School District of Shullsburg, Shullsburg Police Department, Fire Department, and Ambulance Service, are on file with the LDF Work Group. State Senator Dale Schultz has been contacted and has documented his support for the project.

On July 27, 2012 members of the Citizen's Group Committee met with the Tribal Council at Lac du Flambeau and reiterated their support. (the 2003 casino referendum in Shullburg passed with 87% voting in favor.) They have pledged to do whatever they can to help the Tribe gain the necessary approval for the project.

Are any Agreements currently in effect with Shullsburg?

Any and all agreements relating to Shullsburg have expired. There are currently no agreements.

Does Tribal Membership Have a Say?

The Work Group is reassessing Shullsburg as a business opportunity. The findings are being presented to the Membership in a series of informational meetings after which a Referendum on the issue will be held.

What are the results of the new feasibility study?

Klas Robinson QED Hospitality Consulting presented their findings on the Shullsburg Casino Resort project to the Tribal Council on July 31, 2012. Their opinion is that the project will be a financial success. They are recommending that the initial project include:
  • Casino with 1000 gaming devices
  • 20 poker and table games
  • 250 seat bingo hall
  • 300 unit hotel with business center
  • 30,000 square foot multi purpose event center, meeting rooms
  • Multiple food venues; buffet, restuaraunt, sports bar, lounge
  • 100 pad KOA campground
  • Sportsmans Club
  • KidsQuest style child and youth amenities
  • Gift Shop, fitness center, a small spa/salon, and aquatic center

How many jobs will be created?

Like all Native American gaming facilities, the Shullsburg Casino Resort Project will feature a Native American hiring preference. Shullsburg will be a jobs bonanza for LDF. Approximately 800 construction workers will be required to build the project and another 600 employees will be required to operate it. The Tribal Council has mandated that the Shullsburg Project will be a LDF managed facility. Where we have people with the skills and abilities, we will use our own resources first. From plumbers to slot techs, from backhoe operators to dealers, the goal is to tap our own labor pool and let them practice what they've been trained to do.

How does a Shullsburg Casino Project help the Tribe?

The utilization of profits from a Shullsburg Casino Resort will be determined by the Tribal Council and the Tribal Membership. A key part of the federal trust land application process is the identification of unmet needs by the applicant tribe. Though this part of the application process has not been formally produced, pending approval to go forward by the referendum, some of those unmet needs have been discussed. They include all of the Tribal programs and important issues like Elder care, improved health and dental care, housing, infrastructure improvement, education, community nutrition, and law enforcement. The Shullsburg Casino Project is also an important employment opportunity for the Community. The plan is for the management of the facility to be done using tribal resources - full time permanent and temporary positions will be available to experienced tribal members.

How long will this take?

The rule of thumb is that it takes approximately 2 years to process a fee to trust application depending on the amount of accompanying studies that have to be completed.

What about a compact?

Upon approval of the Fee to Trust land Application it will require the creation of a separate compact with the state.

How is Shullsburg different than previous investments like XIT, Natchez, and Cancun?

The primary difference between the Shullsburg opportunity and some of our previous projects that have failed, is, us. We have learned some hard lessons and do not intend to repeat them. Issues like due diligence, oversight, and regulation have new meaning. Where we have depended on outside partners and allowed them to control things in the past we now will be in charge. Shullsburg will be directly controlled by LDF. We will be using our own successful casino resort model and many of our own people to run a Shullsburg operation. Our own internal controls, checks and balances, auditors and our own Gaming Commission will be incorporated into managing the project. Even though approval of the project by the BIA and the Governor is not a sure thing, our ability to better understand and more efficiently and effectively manage this kind of business venture has significantly improved.

Connect with Us

Lac du Flambeau Tribe
P.O. Box 67
Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538

(715) 588-3303


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