Casino Stalker | Litigation | NIGC

8th Circuit tells NIGC to reconsider Ponca Tribe's casino project

The National Indian Gaming Commission must reconsider a decision that allowed the Ponca Tribe to pursue a casino, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said today.

In December 2008, the NIGC said the tribe's land qualified for gaming even though the tribe had promised not to build a casino. A federal judge subsequently said the NIGC failed to take all the relevant information into account when the agency made the decision.

In a split decision, the 8th Circuit said the NIGC must reconsider the decision in light of an apparent agreement between the tribe and the state of Iowa over the intended use of the land. The court said the NIGC still might conclude that the land is eligible for gaming.

In a dissent, Judge Charles B. Kornmann said it was pointless to remand the issue back to the NIGC. "I do not agree that we should give the federal government in this case yet another chance to 'get it right,'" he wrote.

"The government has had quite enough chances to do that," Kornmann wrote.

The tribe's land is located in Carter Lake, Iowa. The five-acre parcel was taken into trust in February 2003.

Normally, land acquired after the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 cannot be used for gaming. But the law contains exceptions -- in this case, the Ponca Tribe said it qualified for a "restored lands" exception.

The Ponca Tribe was recognized by an act of Congress in 1990.

8th Circuit Decision:
Nebraska v. NIGC (October 19, 2010)

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