Opinion: Bankruptcy at tribal casinos no longer just a theory

"There long has been a legal debate as to whether businesses owned and operated by Indian tribes could either file for protection under the federal Bankruptcy Code or, correspondingly, be involuntarily taken into bankruptcy by creditors.

During 2010, the issue was elevated to a new level of urgency when Foxwoods, the mega-casino owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut, was unable to satisfy its debt service and the creditors and investors were unable to quickly agree on a debt restructuring that would avoid a total financial collapse of the tribal gaming/resort enterprises, prompting a national debate as to whether bankruptcy was even an option for Foxwoods. Indeed, Gaming Legal News published a major article in the fall of 2010 that examined the relevant statutory and case law concerning the issue. See "Bankruptcy and Tribal Casinos: 'Conventional Wisdom' Meets Reality" (Vol. 3, No. 28 - Oct. 27, 2010). Foxwoods never went into bankruptcy, nor did other tribal casinos in deep financial distress such as the Inn of the Mountain Gods and Lake of the Torches, but the debate has continued albeit with a lower level of publicity. However, the issue is now front and center with the recent bankruptcy filing in Southern California by the Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino, a wholly owned property of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel located in San Diego County."

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Dennis J. Whittlesey: Tribal Casino Bankruptcies – The Train Is Leaving The Station (Mondaq.com 8/24)
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