The March 9th civil filing of State of Kansas vs. National Indian Gaming Commission et al.,, has added two tribes to its gowning list of litigants.
In a court filing on Wednesday, the state of Kansas and Cherokee County argued that the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska and the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska should be allowed to intervene in the state’s federal lawsuit against the Quapaw.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt doesn’t want the tribe’s Downstream Casino in Oklahoma to expand onto land in Kansas that is owned by the tribe. In addition, federal law gives the governor, Sam Brownback, power to negate the expansion plans of the tribe.
In question is a decision by the National Indian Gaming Commission that allows casino gambling on Cherokee County land that is currently being used for a parking lot.
Schmidt said, “we believe the tribe should be held to its word that the land would not be used for gaming, and the federal government should follow the law in allowing the state to have its voice heard on how the land will be used.”
The suit argues that the commission acted arbitrarily and exceeded its legal authority, and that the state will suffer irreparable harm if the tribe’s casino goes forward.
The Kansas Attorney General contends that a promise was made by the Quapaw that its land in Kansas wouldn’t be used for the purpose of gambling and “creates an impression that the state of Kansas and/or the Bureau of Indian Affairs were mislead.” However, according to the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe, John Berrey, it was always the tribes intention to expand into Kansas.
Citing sovereign immunity, in June the Quapaw Tribe asked a federal court to dismiss claims against all who are named in the lawsuit as well as having the suit itself thrown out. The tribe contends it has followed federal law.
The land was put into trust for the tribe by the federal government in 2012, and in November the commission declared that the site could be treated as reservation land and used for casino gambling under federal law.
The Quapaw is planning a $15 million addition offering table games, such as roulette, not allowed in Oklahoma.
Fallout from the suit includes the tribe’s March announcement that they would be pulling out of a partnership with developer Phil Ruffin seeking to build a casino in southeast Kansas because of hostility from Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration.
Kansas Crossing ultimately won the bid for the final casino license in Kansas.