Kansas appeals ruling in Quapaw Tribe casino expansion lawsuit

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

The Quapaw Tribe won the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging its casino expansion plans but the state of Kansas is appealing the decision.

Last month, Judge Daniel D. Crabtree ruled that Quapaw leaders cannot be sued due to sovereign immunity. He also concluded that an Indian land opinion issued by the National Indian Gaming Commission cannot be challenged in court because it does not constitute a "final agency action."

The state, however, filed a notice of appeal last week. The case will now go to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The tribe plans to spend $15 million to expand the existing Downstream Casino Resort onto its trust land in Kansas. The 124-acre site was placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2012.

Normally, newly acquired lands can't be used for gaming. The NIGC's letter, however, said the Kansas site falls within the tribe's "last recognized reservation." Therefore, it is eligible for gaming under Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The last major Section 20 case decided by the 10th Circuit went in favor of the Wyandotte Nation, incidentally, over a trust site in Kansas.

Get the Story:
Cherokee County, Kansas attorney general appeal decision that would allow Downstream Casino to expand into Kansas (The Joplin Globe 1/16)

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

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