Casino Stalker | Litigation
Tribe awaits date in off-reservation gaming suit

Update: Oral arguments have been set for November 13.

The St. Croix Chippewa Tribe of Wisconsin is waiting for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to schedule a hearing in an off-reservation gaming case.

The St. Croix Tribe, along with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, hopes to build a casino in Beloit. The project was rejected in the final days of the Bush administration.

But the tribes' future could change with the Obama administration. A senior Bureau of Indian Affairs official told The Wall Street Journal that a new policy on off-reservation gaming might be coming "fairly soon."

"We’re heartened that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is attending to these important matters, but we’ve learned that the definition of ‘fairly soon’ that the Bureau of Indian Affairs uses doesn’t necessarily match our definition of ‘fairly soon.’ Tomorrow would not be soon enough," Joseph Hunt, a spokesperson for the casino project, told The Beloit Daily News.

At issue is a "guidance memorandum" that the Bush administration issued without tribal consultation of input. The directive allows the BIA to reject casinos that are not within a "commutable distance" of a reservation.

Another change allows the BIA to reject casinos without considering local or state support. The Beloit casino is strongly backed in the local community.

The Beloit site is more than 300 miles from each of the tribe's reservations. gaming.

Get the Story:
Tribe’s legal battle resumes (The Beloit Daily News 9/24)
Hopes for casino get a boost (The Beloit Daily News 9/23)

BIA Letter:
George Skibine to Bad River Band/St. Croix Chippewa (January 13, 2009)

Off-Reservation Gaming Policy:
Guidance on taking off-reservation land into trust for gaming purposes (January 3, 2008)