Casino Stalker | Opinion
Column: Soo Tribe cites land claim in off-reservation casino bid

"The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe currently operates five casinos in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP). The Sault Tribe has proposed plans for a sixth casino — the Lansing Kewadin Casino — which would be located far from the Sault Tribe's land base in Lansing, Michigan. City officials approved plans for the casino and the Sault Tribe amended its gaming ordinance, but Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette opposes this sixth casino. Schuette asserts that the Sault Tribe's use of settlement funds from the Michigan Indian Land Claim Settlement Act (MILCSA) to acquire land for the casino would allow the Sault Tribe to open a casino anywhere in the US.

Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988 with the purpose of providing a "statutory basis for the operation of gaming by Indian tribes as a means of promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal government." Among the myriad regulations that the IGRA lays out for tribal gaming operations, there are two specific requirements that directly impact tribes seeking to establish casinos off their reservations. First, all Indian gaming must be conducted on Indian lands. Indian lands are defined as "lands within a tribe's reservation, or lands over which an Indian tribe exercises governmental power and are either held in trust by the federal government for tribes or held by any Indian tribe or individual subject to restriction by the US against alienation." The second requirement is the prohibition against gaming "on lands acquired by the Secretary [of the Interior] in trust for the benefit of an Indian tribe after October 17, 1988.""

Get the Story:
Gerald Carr: Michigan's Off-Reservation Casino Battle (Jurist 8/13)

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Sault Tribe gets more time to make off-reservation casino deal (07/26)