Kempthorne warns casinos could end up 'anywhere'

According to assistant secretary Carl Artman, his boss didn't play much of a role in developing a new policy that restricts off-reservation gaming.

But Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne doesn't want tribes getting casinos hundreds of miles from existing reservations. "Once you begin going down that path, I don't know how you ever control it," he said recently in Las Vegas, the Associated Press reported. "Because the precedent would be established and then you could have gaming anywhere."

When he was governor of Idaho, Kempthorne opposed off-reservation gaming. Tribes who are critical of the new policy say he has injected his personal feelings into the debate, rather than rely on law and the facts.

"It sets our tribe, my people back," Francine Kupsch, the chairwoman of the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians on California told the AP. "We were the ones who 10 years ago received electricity for the first time and are still trying to catch up with everybody."

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing last week that examined the new policy. Lawmakers said it was developed and implemented without prior tribal consultation.

Get the Story:
Tribes Challenge Federal Ruling Over Off-Reservation Casinos (AP 3/9)
Los Coyotes Band of Indians Still Gamely Trying to Build Casino (The San Diego Business Journal 3/10)