Quapaw Tribe not rushing into expansion of casino on Kansas land

Artist's rendering shows the planned expansion at the Downstream Casino Resort. Image from Quapaw Tribe

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma is moving slowly when it comes to a casino expansion project.

In December, the tribe announced plans to spend $15 million to expand the Downstream Casino Resort onto trust land in Kansas. Although Chairman John Berrey already invited Gov. Sam Brownback (R) to a "grand opening in the coming months" he said the project will take longer to come to fruition.

"Our hope is to establish the Kansas expansion of the casino during the next three or four years," Berrey told Arkansas Business.

But even if the opening is years away, it doesn't look like Brownback will be rushing to the casino. The state is suing the tribe and the National Indian Gaming Commission in hopes of preventing the 124-acre trust parcel from being used for the expansion.

A copy of a handwritten letter from Quapaw Chairman John Berrey to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) was filed in federal court by the state as part of a lawsuit against the casino expansion.

“Gov. Sam Brownback and his crew have tried to make us out to be the bad guys,” Berrey told Arkansas Business.

Still, the tribe has a Plan B. The Class III gaming compact in Oklahoma expires in 2020 and there's already talk of bringing craps and roulette into the deal.

“There will be some serious lobbying going on to allow dice and wheels,” spokesperson Sean Harrison the tribe told Arkansas Business.

Downstream is unique in Indian Country because it is located on land in three states: Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Gaming is limited to the Oklahoma portion since that was the only part that was in trust when the casino opened in 2008.

That means Brownback can't object if the tribe expands its offerings on the Oklahoma side. He could always negotiate his own Class III deal but that appears unlikely given the litigation.

Get the Story:
Quapaw Casino-Growth Plans Generate Opposition in Kansas (Arkansas Business 8/24)

Relevant Documents:
NIGC Indian Land Opinion For Site in Kansas (November 2014)

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