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NY Indian casino illegal?

December 05, 2006

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According to reports, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal of the Onedia Indian Nation which could have provided the tribe with a legal basis for the operation of the Turning Stone Casino near Vernon Downs.

Although Turning Stone Casino has been open since 1993, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that it lacks a valid gaming compact with the state of New York because it was never approved by the legislature. The compact, approved by former Gov. Mario Cuomo, is the only one in which a tribe doesn’t give the state a portion of the gambling proceeds.

Courts have also ruled that the casino isn’t built on Indian land, which is a violation of Indian gaming law. The tribe has applied to the federal government so that 17,000 acres in central New York, including the land the casino sits on, be put into trust so it would qualify as Indian lands.

Tribal spokespersons have called for the state of New York to resolve the issue. While the U.S. Supreme Court\'s decision not to address the matter leaves the casino in illegal status, the state has expressed relucantace to shut it down because 4,000 people are employed there. New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who will be sworn in as the state’s governor next month, is supposed to comment on his strategy on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
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