California | Litigation | Openings & Closings

Enterprise Rancheria casino work in limbo due to legal challenge


Glenda Nelson, the chairwoman of the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria, took part in a groundbreaking of the Fire Mountain Casino in California on April 8, 2016. Photo courtesy Enterprise Rancheria

The Enterprise Rancheria broke ground on a long-awaited casino in April but construction remains on hold due to a lawsuit filed by a rival tribe.

The Fire Mountain Casino will be located on 40 acres in Yuba County. The site is about 22 miles from the gaming facility owned by the United Auburn Indian Community, whose leaders are opposed to the new development.

The Auburn Community lost a decision in its lawsuit on October 13 but the tribe is disputing the ruling, The Northern California Record reported. The Enterprise Rancheria won't restart work at Fire Mountain while the case continues.

"The tribes with competitive gaming facilities are bringing litigation towards the Enterprise Rancheria tribe to slow the construction process down," attorney John Mayer told The Record.

The Enteprise Rancheria pursued its casino by following the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The process -- which took more than a decade to complete -- required approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as the state governor.

The Auburn Community, on the other hand, opened the successful Thunder Valley Casino by following a different provision of IGRA that did not require the same level of scrutiny. It did lead to a lawsuit but local governments and non-Indian groups weren't able to stop the project.

Read More on the Story:
Fire Mountain Casino construction delayed after United Auburn Tribe filed an appeal (The Northern California Record 10/30)

California 3rd District Court of Appeal Decisions:
United Auburn Indian Community v. Brown. (October 13, 2016)
Citizens For a Better Way v. Brown (October 13, 2016)

Tribal Leader Opinions on H.R.5079, the California Compact Protection Act:
Maryann McGovran: Don't be fooled by efforts of 'wealthy' tribes (5/13)
Claudia Gonzales: Off-reservation gaming fuels attacks on tribes (5/13)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet | Two-Part Determination Letter

Federal Register Notice:
Land Acquisitions; Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

Related Stories:
United Auburn Indian Community loses suit against new casino (10/14)
Enterprise Rancheria wins federal approval to offer Class III games (08/15)
Enterprise Rancheria puts a pause on casino work amid uncertainty (8/11)
Enterprise Rancheria waits on Bureau of Indian Affairs for Class III gaming (07/08)
Enterprise Rancheria awaits action on Class III gaming compact (7/4)
Enterprise Rancheria on track to debut gaming facility next year (06/03)
Bryan Newland: Bill grants states a veto over tribal gaming rights (05/16)
Steve Stallings: Compact process respects tribal and state rights (5/16)
Maryann McGovran: Don't be fooled by efforts of 'wealthy' tribes (5/13)
Claudia Gonzales: Off-reservation gaming fuels attacks on tribes (5/13)
Bill blocks Class III gaming at two specific off-reservation casinos (5/6)
New bill takes aim at casinos opposed by rival tribes in California (5/2)
Enterprise Rancheria shares $811K as casino work finally begins (04/11)
Enterprise Rancheria looking to expand gaming facility in phases (4/8)
Enterprise Rancheria set to start work on $170M Class II facility (4/7)
Bureau of Indian Affairs still moves slowly on casino applications (04/01)
Enterprise Rancheria plans to move forward with compact talks (02/24)
Enterprise Rancheria wins decision in gaming compact lawsuit (2/19)