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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Mechoopda casino

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Mechoopda Tribe of California from building a casino.

The tribe plans a casino on a 645-acre site in Butte County. The National Indian Gaming Commission said the tribe qualified for a "restored" exception in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

County officials challenged the NIGC's Indian lands determination and raised environmental, health and other issues. But they also claimed the tribe was not properly recognized and said the tribe wasn't entitled to land outside of its former reservation.

"The court agrees with [government] Defendants that the County relies on too restrictive an interpretation of the IGRA in support of its contention that the Chico Parcel cannot qualify as a “restoration of lands.” The County contends that the term “restoration of lands” should be interpreted as including only a restored tribe’s former rancheria. But the IGRA does not define “restoration of lands”; therefore, courts have held it to be ambiguous and interpreted it broadly," Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. of the district court in Washington, D.C. wrote in the decision.

The case is Butte County v. Hogen. The county said an appeal is possible.

Get the Story:
Judge: County can't stop casino (The Chico Enterprise-Record 4/14)
Butte County Closer to Getting New Casino (KHSL 4/14)