Quapaw Tribe denies claim of work on Kansas casino expansion

The Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Photo from Facebook

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma has not started work on a casino expansion project despite claims made by the state of Kansas.

The tribe has no firm date to begin construction on the $15 million expansion of the Downstream Casino Resort. Equipment that was spotted at the site was there for carpet replacement, The Cherokee County News-Advocate reported.

Despite the lack of action, the state of Kansas filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent the tribe from moving forward. Judge Daniel D. Crabtree has not yet ruled on a motion for a preliminary injunction but he won't consider the request until he determines whether the tribe and its leaders can be sued without their consent.

The court "must decide the threshold issue whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction over the parties who assert tribal immunity" before the case can proceed, Crabtree wrote in a short order last week.

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

Downstream is located on properties in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Gaming is currently restricted to the Oklahoma portion because only that land was held in trust when the facility opened in 2008.

The tribe announced the expansion after the National Indian Gaming Commission said the Kansas portion can be used for gaming. The state is also suing the NIGC.

The 124-acre Kansas portion was placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2012. Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bar casinos on land acquired after 1988.

The NIGC, however, determined that the tribe qualified for an exception in Section 20 of the law that applies to a "last recognized reservation." The tribe's reservation straddled Oklahoma and Kansas border.

Get the Story:
Court rules against injunction to stop Downstream expansion into Kansas (The Cherokee County News-Advocate 8/5)

Relevant Documents:
NIGC Indian Land Opinion For Site in Kansas (November 2014)

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