The Joplin Globe is reporting that Federal attorneys are attempting to get Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s lawsuit attempting to stymie the expansion of the Downstream Casino Resort across the Oklahoma state line into Kansas thrown out of court.
In a legal brief filed late last month in U.S. District Court in Topeka, the attorneys say the Quapaw tribe’s intentions for the land in question “are legally irrelevant” to the federal law regulates gambling on Indian land. The brief by attorneys, including the U.S. attorney for Kansas, Barry Grissom states that the tribe, “could have proceeded with any course of action on its trust land in Kansas.”
The tribe plans to build a two level structure, which will house 162 game machines, a club and a cigar lounge. However this would also require a compact with the state of Kansas.
The Downstream casino is located on a section of land that is in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Currently gaming is only offered in Oklahoma as that land was in trust when the casino opened. In 2012 the 124 acre Kansas portion was placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The proposed expansion of Downstream Casino Resort into Kansas, at a cost $15 million was announced after the land determination was given a favorable review by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). The tribe, the leaders and the agency were then sued by the state.
The land determination though, according to the government attorneys was not a final agency action that can be challenged in court and that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not relinquish NIGC’s immunity.