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Firekeepers Casino Hotel examines 10-year social and economic impact

Firekeepers Casino
FireKeepers Casino expansion rendering

A rendering of the second tower at FireKeepers Casino near Battle Creek. (Courtesy FireKeepers)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOTV)-In December 2019, the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board received the Socioeconomic Indicators and Economic Impact Analysis of FireKeepers Casino Hotel. The Board engaged the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo to complete this study in accordance with a long-standing commitment. The promise was to update the economic and social indicators within Calhoun County identified in an initial 2008 Upjohn Study as possibly being impacted by the development of FireKeepers Casino Hotel.

“NHBP is pleased to see that the results from the impact analysis reinforce what the Tribe always believed the impact of FireKeepers Casino Hotel would be on our community,” NHBP Tribal Council Chairperson Jamie Stuck said. “The report clearly shows both the economic and societal benefits that FireKeepers has had on the City of Battle Creek, Calhoun County and the surrounding region.”

The socioeconomic indicators examined by the Upjohn Institute include economic opportunity, crime offenses, financial impact, and family and children. The Upjohn Institute estimates that in 2018, 2,426 jobs were added to the labor market due to people from outside of the county patronizing and spending money on services at the casino. These are public and private sector jobs,
including direct employment by FireKeepers and also jobs created from the need for others (for example, grocers, accountants, and dry cleaners) to supply goods and services to workers at FireKeepers.

FireKeepers represents slightly more than 4% of all county employment.
The report found that gaming adds almost $250 million in additional sales in Calhoun County, along with $21 million in personal income. Combined, gaming and non-gaming activities, sales in Calhoun County were $443 million higher due to activities of patrons and the facility, and personal income rose by $65 million.

Within the social indicators, Upjohn concluded that both Emmett Township, where the Casino Hotel is located, and Calhoun County are doing just as well and in some cases better now, both when compared to the baseline year of 2008 and when measured against comparison counties. These indicators included crime activity, bankruptcy filings, senior assistance requests, divorce rates and domestic violence reports, among others.

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