The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Salazar v. Patchak will have an effect on financing for tribal casinos, according to Fitch Ratings.
The decision allows just about anyone to challenge a land-into-trust application. Historically, lawsuits were filed by state and local governments and people directly affected by a gaming operation, such as adjacent residents or landowners.
The Supreme Court, however, said the land-into-trust regulations that were developed under the Indian Reorganization Act recognize a wide "zone of interests." A person who lives in the general area of a casino, for example, could file a lawsuit.
The decision also loosened the time frames for challenges to a land-into-trust application. Normally, lawsuits must be filed within 30 days but the Supreme Court said the Administrative Procedure Act -- which provides for a six-year statute of limitations -- governs.
As a result, Fitch Ratings said the decision will have ''several key credit implications for the gaming sector."
Companies that partner with tribes may be reluctant to provide financing if a land-into-trust decision remains vulnerable for years.
Get the Story:
Ruling could slow development of some Indian casinos
Supremes’ Ruling Opens Floodgates to Challenges of Indian Land Trust Acquisition
(Indian Country Today 6/19)
Supreme Court Decision:
v. Patchak (June 18, 2012)
Oral Argument Transcript:
v. Patchak (April 23, 2012)
DC Circuit Decision:
v. Salazar (January 21, 2011)
Turtle Talk: Commentary on Supreme Court
land-into-trust case (6/19)
Non-Indian behind Gun Lake casino
challenge applauds decision (6/19