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Reality Check: 'East Coast Gaming' TV Ads

Published On: Apr 11 2007 07:22:42 AM CDT   Updated On: Apr 11 2007 07:38:26 AM CDT

Two heavily played TV commercials ask viewers if they want "east coast gaming" in Wisconsin.

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The ads highlight a proposal to build an $800 million casino complex in Kenosha.

But WISC-TV found that the advertisements don't disclose the fact that the ads are paid for by a group including the Forest County Potawatomi. The Potawatomi run a casino just 40 miles from the proposed site in Kenosha and could be financially hurt by the competition.

At the bottom of the TV screen, the ads say they're paid for Wisconsin Gaming for Wisconsin. A check of the group's Web site showed that includes the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Milwaukee Urban League, VISIT Milwaukee and the Forest County Potawatomi.

In the commercial, the ad explains that the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut operates "one of the largest casinos in the world" and is looking to expand to Kenosha.

"Now, they've set their sights on Wisconsin, where they're planning to build the largest casino between Atlantic City and Las Vegas," an announcer in the ad says.

WISC-TV finds that claim "needs clarification."

The proposal would be to build a 116,000 square foot casino, which would be bigger than any other in the state. It would include 3,100 slot machines and 75 table games. It would all be on the site of a greyhound dog track in Kenosha.

But the ad doesn't tell viewers that the casino proposal has Wisconsin interests. In fact, it was started by the Menominee Tribe from northern Wisconsin. The Mohegan tribe would be an investor but would only be in line for money for the first seven years of the casino.

It's uncertain whether the casino will be built, WISC-TV reported. Federal officials and Gov. Jim Doyle must approve it.

Earlier this year, officials at the Bureau of Indian Affairs hinted they won't look quite as favorably toward off-reservation casinos like this proposal.

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