Indiana lawmakers advance bill against Pokagon Band's casino

John Warren, at podium, serves as chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Photo from Facebook

After a debate that lasted less than two minutes, the Indiana Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that calls on Congress to stop the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians from opening a casino in the Hoosier State.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 54 passed by a voice vote, WNDU reported. Only one lawmaker spoke about the bill, which asks Congress to declare that "reservations and restored Indian lands within Indiana" are not eligible for gaming.

“This is going to cost Indiana dollars, it’s going to cost jobs, in certain areas, as they transfer over to this, and so this is why I’m bringing this resolution forward," Sen. Carlin Yoder (R), the sponsor of the resolution, said on the Senate floor, WNDU reported.

The bill still awaits action in the Indiana House. But even if it's approved, it's not likely to have much of an effect in Washington, D.C., because it would either require an amendment to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, changes to the Section 20 regulations issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or an amendment to the law that restored the tribe to federal recognition.

This image shows Alternative A for the land-into-trust site in South Bend, Indiana. No plans have been approved as of yet. Image from Pokagon EIS

The tribe has submitted a land-into-trust application to the BIA to use 166 acres in South Bend for a $480 million casino, hotel and other development. There is no timeline for a decision but lawmakers from regions with non-Indian gaming facilities have raised alarms about the potential competition.

Some lawmakers are also claiming the tribe was not planning a casino in Indiana when it gained federal recognition through an act of Congress in 1994. But the law does not contain any gaming prohibitions or any restrictions on land acquisitions in Indiana or Michigan, where three casinos are already in operation.

Get the Story:
Indiana Senate unanimously passes anti Pokagon casino resolution (WNDU 4/28)
Hoosier lawmakers want Congress to bar tribal casino (The Northwest Indiana Times 4/29)
Indiana State Opposes South Bend Casino (Casino News Daily 4/29)

Federal Register Notices:
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Fee-to-Trust Transfer for Tribal Village and Casino, City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana (March 12, 2015)
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Pokagon Band Tribal Village Fee-to-Trust Acquisition and Casino Project in the City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, IN (August 24, 2012)

Related Stories
Indiana lawmakers ask Congress to stop Pokagon Band casino (4/28)
Pokagon Band casino remains a concern for Indiana lawmakers (4/24)
Pokagon Band questions bill that affects Indiana casino project (4/22)
Indiana lawmakers not so welcoming to Pokagon Band casino bid (4/17)
BIA hears from public on Pokagon Band gaming plan in Indiana (4/15)
Pokagon Band gains city support for casino ahead of BIA hearing (4/14)

Join the Conversation