A dispute between the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Arizona Department of Gaming could throw a new wrinkle into plans to build and open Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Resort. Arizona Department of Gaming director, Daniel Bergin told the tribe in a letter that he would not allow the casino to open and alluded to  “fraud perpetuated by [the tribe] upon the state, Arizona gaming tribes and the state’s voters.”

“Given this evidence … I conclude that the [gaming agency] would exceed its authority if it were to proceed with any certification or approval processes relating to the opening or operation of [the tribe’s] Glendale casino,”  wrote Bergin.

On April 15, O’odham Nation attorney Seth Waxman penned a letter to Arizona Department of Gaming Director Daniel Berginon in response to the news. In it he said, “ADG’s refusal to execute its duties under the existing tribal-state compact is unlawful, as a matter of state and federal law. The nation is prepared to exercise all available remedies to compel ADG’s compliance with the law,” Waxman said in the letter.

The saga has been ongoing for over five years with the tribe prevailing in all finished court cases to date. Other tribes in the region have rallied hard to stop the casino from being built. On March 25th a bill co-sponsored  by Arizona Senator John McCain passed through the House Natural Resources Committee in Washington D.C. The bill would prohibit the casino at the federal level, effectively negating a series of court victories for the tribe.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. says the tribe has no plans to stop building the casino.

“This latest political strong-arm tactic will not deter our efforts,” he said.

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