Compacts | Litigation

Tohono O'odham Nation heads to trial in casino feud with state

Tohono O'odham Nation leaders opened the doors to the new Desert Diamond Casino - West Valley in Glendale, Arizona, on December 20, 2015. Photo from Facebook

A federal judge has ordered a trial to determine whether the Tohono O'odham Nation can offer Class III games at its new casino in Arizona.

The tribe opened the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort a year ago to large crowds. But the state refuses to certify it for slot machines, table games and other Class III games, arguing that the tribe pursued it through fraudulent means.

The tribe responded with a lawsuit but Judge David Campbell on Monday cited several issues of "material fact" that need to be resolved at trial. Those issues include the tribe's argument that the the state already ratified the Class III compact and cannot rescind it with respect to West Valley.

Another issue involves notes that a state attorney destroyed after meeting with rival tribes that oppose the new casino. Campbell indicated that the attorney will have to testify about his "state of mind" when he destroyed the notes.

The judge is asking the tribe and the state to come up with trial dates sometime between April and August of 2017, according to an order issued on Monday.

The state has since offered to resolve the dispute with a new gaming compact that would authorize Class III games at West Valley. The tribe has not accepted the agreement, which was drafted without its input.

Read More on the Story:
Judge: Lawsuit Over Glendale Casino To Head To Trial (AP 12/20)

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