County opposes expansion of Quapaw Tribe casino into Kansas


The Downstream Casino Resort. Photo from Facebook

The Quapaw Tribe is facing opposition to its plan to expand casino operations into the state of Kansas.

The tribe plans to spend $15 million to expand the Downstream Casino Resort on trust land in Kansas. The National Indian Gaming Commission has determined that the land qualifies for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

But the Cherokee County Commission says the tribe promised not to use the land for gaming when it submitted the land-into-trust application. The Kansas Attorney General's Office is also making the same claim in hopes of stopping the expansion.

“We’re one of the largest employers, we buy goods and services, we pay taxes — it’s crazy," Quapaw Chairman John Berrey told The Joplin Globe. "They’re already benefiting from us. They would only benefit more in having more jobs, more taxes, more consumption of materials, more economic development, so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t support us.”

Generally, land acquired after 1988 isn't eligible for gaming but the NIGC said the Quapaws qualified for an exception in Section 20 of IGRA that applies to a tribe's "last recognized reservation" outside of Oklahoma. The land in question was part of the Quapaw Strip, the tribe's former reservation.


Artist's rendering shows the planned expansion at the Downstream Casino Resort. Image from Quapaw Tribe

The Downstream casino is located on land in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Gaming currently occurs on the Oklahoma portion because that part has been in trust.

The tribe would need to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the state of Kansas to engage in Class III gaming there. Berrey has said he is confident he can secure an agreement.

Get the Story:
Cherokee County Commission opposes Downstream's application for expansion (The Joplin Globe 2/10)

Relevant Documents:
NIGC Indian Land Opinion (November 2014)

Related Stories:
Deadline extended for commercial casino eyed by Quapaw Tribe (12/18)
Kansas attorney general questions Quapaw Tribe's gaming plans (12/10)
Quapaw Tribe to expand gaming facility into ancestral territory (12/5)


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