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Fort Sill Apache Tribe awaits NIGC ruling for bingo games

Filed Under: Casino Stalker | Litigation | NIGC
More on: bingo, fort sill apache, igra, jeff haozous, new mexico, oklahoma, susana martinez, two-part determination

The Fort Sill Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. Photo © Fort Sill Apache Tribe.

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe is hoping to secure federal approval to offer bingo games on its reservation in New Mexico.

An appeal is pending before the National Indian Gaming Commission. At issue is whether the reservation, which was placed in trust in 2002, is eligible for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

"If the federal government determines it's legal for us to offer gaming here, we can offer bingo or bingo machines," Chairman Jeff Haozous told The Las Cruces Sun-News. "We can offer those without any oversight from the state or paying any fees to the state."

Generally, IGRA bars gaming on land acquired after 1988. But the law contains some exceptions that the tribe hopes to meet even though the NIGC has issued some negative decisions for the site in the past.

For tribes that can't meet an exception, IGRA authorizes a two-part determination, which would require state approval in addition to federal approval. Haozous said the Apaches want to go that route but he noted that Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has questioned the tribe's presence in New Mexico.

"We're hoping to complete our application and submit it to the federal government," Haozous told the paper. "It should be any day."

Get the Story:
Fort Sill Apache undaunted in quest for southern New Mexico casino (The Las Cruces Sun-News 1/23)

Federal Register Notice:
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Fort Sill Apache Indian Tribe (November 28, 2011)

NIGC Indian Land Opinions:
May 19, 2008 | April 30, 2009

Related Stories:
Fort Sill Apache Tribe in long haul for New Mexico casino (1/14)

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