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Residents open to Tohono O'odham Nation off-reservation casino


Filed Under: Casino Stalker
More on: arizona, bia, gila river, igra, land claims, land-into-trust, off-reservation, salt river, section 20, tohono o'odham
   

Artist's rendering of the proposed West Valley Resort. Image from Tohono O'odham Nation

Local residents are welcoming the chance to gamble at an off-reservation casino owned by the Tohono O'odham Nation.

The tribe's West Valley Resort has been controversial among politicians in the state. But people like Peggy Loken of Glendale say the battle isn't worth it.

“I think Glendale ultimately wasted a lot of money fighting this thing, and I don’t believe it will hurt them at all,” Loken told The Sun City Daily News-Sun. “I think it will be beneficial. It will be good for the area, and if it ever does open, I will go check it out.”

Council members in Glendale are also seeking to negotiate with the tribe. The city previously opposed the project.

“I hope the city reacts and strikes a deal with the TO quickly," council member Ian Hugh told the paper.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has agreed to place about 135 acres in trust for the tribe. The July 3 decision, however, does not say whether the tribe can conduct gaming there.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, generally, bars gaming on land acquired after 1988. But Section 20 of the law creates an exception for land acquired in connection with a land claim settlement.

The tribe appears to qualify due to the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act of 1986. Neither the BIA, nor any other federal agency, has made a determination on the issue.

The Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community oppose the proposal. Both tribes operate casinos in the area.

Get the Story:
Sun Citians see 777’s in latest casino ruling (The Sun City Daily News-Sun 7/8)
Council members push Glendale to ‘strike deal’ over casino (The Sun City Daily News-Sun 7/8)
Interior Dept. ruling 'requires' TO's land be taken into trust (The Glendale Star 7/8)

Related Stories:
Rival tribes blast casino land ruling for Tohono O'odham Nation (7/4)

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