North Fork Rancheria wins decision in gaming compact case

Artist's rendering of the proposed North Fork Rancheria casino. Image from North Fork EIS

The state of California must negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

Judge Anthony W. Ishii said Gov. Jerry Brown (D) failed to engage in "good faith" talks as required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. He ordered the two parties to reach a new agreement within 60 days for an off-reservation site in Madera County.

"The state has presented no legitimate state goal that could be accomplished by demanding a different location for the gaming site," Ishii wrote in the 23-page decision.

The tribe had a compact for the site but voters rejected it at the polls in November 2014. The tribe then asked for another agreement but Brown refused to come to the table, citing the outcome of the referendum.

A January 2015 letter from his "Senior Advisor for Tribal Negotiations" also indicated that off-reservation gaming is too controversial in the state even though Brown previously approved the casino under the two-part determination provisions of IGRA.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has already placed the 305-acre gaming site in trust.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California v. State of California.

Get the Story:
Mono Indians Will Get a Casino, Judge Says (Courthouse News Service 11/17)
Federal judge orders governor back to talks on Madera-area casino (The Fresno Bee 11/17)

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming (October 22, 2013)
Land Acquisitions; North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: North Fork Rancheria Decision | Section 20 Determination: North Fork Rancheria

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