Casino Stalker | Land Acquisitions | NIGC
NIGC asks Fort Sill Apache Tribe about New Mexico site

The National Indian Gaming Commission is asking the Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma to justify its off-reservation gaming site in New Mexico.

The NIGC wants to know whether the 30-acre site meets the definition of "Indian lands" under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The tribe is building Class II facility on the land, which was taken into trust by the Bush administration in 2001.

"IGRA requires tribes to game on Indian lands over which they have jurisdiction," Penny Coleman, the acting general counsel at NIGC, wrote in a February 7 letter [PDF]. "Furthermore, IGRA prohibits gaming on trust lands acquired after October 17, 1988 except in limited circumstances."

Chairman Jeff Houser has defended the tribe's ability to use the site for gaming. He appears to be claiming the land was taken into trust pursuant to some kind of settlement, which could meet one of the IGRA exceptions.

Coleman wants the tribe to submit documentation about the legality of the site. She says the NIGC could take some kind of enforcement action if the casino is not being operated on "Indian lands."

The site is about 750 miles away from the tribe's headquarters in Apache, Oklahoma.