Anderson Economic Group Work

A Critical Review of the Impacts of New Buffalo Casino Development

This review, commissioned by the Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos (TOMAC), is intended to provide the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) with an objective assessment of the 2003 Supplement and the 2001 EA. Warner Norcross & Judd, a Grand Rapids, Michigan law firm, retained Anderson Economic Group to assist in a case involving a planned casino development in southwest Michigan. A local Indian tribe had submitted an Environmental Assessment (EA) to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that claimed there would be no significant impact on the local community if the casino was developed. When local citizens challenged these claims, Anderson Economic Group was asked to provide an independent review of the EA submission.

We began our review by identifying important assumptions about the scale of the proposed casino, and the directly related figures for jobs, land use, and expenditures. We then reviewed the analysis of the impact on the human and natural environment, which was based on the proposed scale of the operation. We then corrected for major errors and omissions, and we estimate—where possible—the major effects of a casino that matches the scale of the one proposed. We also considered an analogous casino development, and documented the significant impacts of its operation on the human and natural environment. We checked to confirm that our analysis of this analogous development was consistent with our analysis of the likely actual impacts of the proposed casino for southwest Michigan. Finally, we visited the site of the proposed casino, as well as the analogous casino development.

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