Archive - Aug 2008
On July 8, 2008, the federal district court issued a decision in the case challenging the NIGC's approval of the Seneca Nation's amended ordinance. The case, brought by Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County, is an effort to prevent the tribe from operating a casino in Buffalo.
The plaintiffs claimed that the Buffalo parcel is not "Indian lands," so that Chairman Hogen's conclusion that the parcel meets IGRA's Indian lands requirement is arbitrary and capricious. After a lengthy analysis, Judge Skretny rejected this claim.
As we explained last time, the NIGC twice approved the Seneca Nation's gaming ordinance in relation to the Buffalo Creek Casino.
First, in 2002, the NIGC approved an ordinance for gaming on unspecified lands. Then, in 2007, the NIGC approved an amended ordinance specifying the Buffalo parcel as the location for the casino. The 2007 approval expressly found that the parcel was "Indian lands," and qualified for the "settlement of a land claim" exception.
When we left off on the Buffalo Creek controversy, we had reached the point where the Seneca Nation had purchased 9 acres of land in Buffalo in 2005. That was followed by a federal suit, filed by Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County, to stop the tribe from opening a casino on the land. At issue was whether the land in question qualified as "Indian lands" under IGRA.
The Arizona Department of Gaming reports that revenue generated by tribal casinos is down, and that has state and local policymakers worried—about their own coffers.Since 2003, Arizona tribes have distributed about $430 million to the state, which then channels the funds to various programs, like schools, hospitals, wildlife conservation, police protection, and other social services, including the mitigation of gambling addiction.
As everyone knows (right?), IGRA only authorizes Class II and III gaming on "Indian lands." For non-reservation land, the determination of whether a parcel of land is "Indian lands" can be very complicated, requiring careful analysis of a complex history of the tribe's interactions and agreements with the state and the federal government. In his July 8 decision, federal judge William Skretny conducted just that kind of analysis, reaching all the way back to the 17th century.