SOUTH BEND — The state has agreed to grant a request from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to negotiate a compact that could allow table games at the band’s Four Winds South Bend Casino, a state regulator said Monday.

The band sent the state the request on Aug. 13 and Gov. Eric Holcomb has appointed Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, to lead a yet-to-be-assembled negotiating committee for the state.

“We’re still early in the process and that’s the most I can tell you at this point,” Tait said.

Because it lacks a compact with the state, the casino can’t offer Class III table games such as blackjack, roulette and craps, and is instead limited to Class II electronic games and a poker room. Having a gaming compact with the state also would let the Pokagons offer sports gambling, which became legal in Indiana this month.

News of the negotiations came as the Pokagons said they will hold a press conference Wednesday morning to announce an “expansion” at the casino property at 3000 Prairie Ave.

In its 2012 application with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish Indian land for the casino, the band included plans for an 18-story, 500-room hotel. But at a December 2016 media event to kick off construction of the casino, the Pokagons said the hotel and other amenities, such as a night club and conference center, would only be built later if casino business was strong enough.

A spokesman for the band declined to say Monday whether the announcement will be related to one of those amenities, and he said no one from the band was available for an interview. Attending the 10:30 a.m., event will be Matthew Wesaw, tribal council chairman and chairman of the Pokagon Gaming Authority, and Frank Freedman, chief operating officer of Four Winds Casinos, according to a media alert from the band’s Chicago-based public relations firm, Dresner Corporate Services.
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