Tribal history in a promenade at the Comanche Red River Hotel and Casino in Devol, Oklahoma. Photo: Comanche Red River Casino

Comanche Nation 'disappointed' with end to dispute over rival tribal casino

The Comanche Nation has hit the end of the road with its challenge to a rival tribal casino in Oklahoma.

The tribe sued the federal government for allowing the Chickasaw Nation to open yet another gaming facility, this one only 45 miles from a Comanche property. But the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the dispute on Tuesday.

“Obviously the Nation is disappointed,” Rick Grellner, an attorney for the Comanches, told POLITICO.

At issue was a last-minute decision of the Obama administration to acquire a 51.35-are site in trust for the Chickasaw Nation. The decision -- made only one day before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 -- enabled the tribe to open the RiverStar Casino, which POLITICO notes is the 22nd in its vast empire.

Indianz.Com on Google Maps: Chickasaw Nation Gaming Facilities

The Comanches said they should have been consulted before the Bureau of Indian Affairs made the decision. But the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals determined otherwise in a December 2018 ruling that stands as a result of the Supreme Court's action this week.

The Comanches operate the Red River Hotel and Casino about 45 miles from Terral, which is right on the border with Texas, an important gaming market. The tribe says revenues will suffer now that the Chickasaw facility is open.

Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars casinos on land placed in trust after 1988. But an exception in Section 20 of the law allows gaming on properties located within the boundaries a former reservation in Oklahoma.

The Chickasaws have utilized the exception repeatedly to expand their gaming empire. Back in 2003, Indianz.Com counted 11 facilities on lands acquired after 1988.

RiverStar, which opened in March 2018, is the latest in the stable. The BIA approved the land-into-trust application for the site on January 19, 2017, the last full day of the Obama administration.

The Trump administration held up the official notice of the acquisition until July 2017. But that didn't stop the Chickasaws from breaking ground -- the tribe did so in May of that year.

Read More on the Story
Supreme Court denies hearing on bitter Indian casino battle (POLITICO May 30, 2019)
U.S. Supreme Court rejects Comanche casino case (The Oklahoman May 29, 2019)

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision
Comanche Nation v. Zinke (December 14, 2018)

Federal Register Notices
Land Acquisitions; The Chickasaw Nation [Terral Site] (July 18, 2017)
Land Acquisitions; The Chickasaw Nation [Willis Site] (July 18, 2017)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Supreme Court enters final stretch with no new Indian law cases on docket (May 28, 2019)
Comanche Nation asks Supreme Court to hear dispute over rival tribe's casino (April 8, 2019)
Comanche Nation loses bid to derail rival tribe's casino (December 17, 2018)
Comanche Nation heads to court to battle Chickasaw Nation casino (September 18, 2018)
Another tribe wins approval for ball and dice games in Oklahoma (September 17, 2018)
Comanche Nation citizens warned of big hit from rival Chickasaw Nation casino (April 23, 2018)
Comanche Nation sees setback in effort to stop new Chickasaw Nation casino (November 15, 2017)
Comanche Nation sues over last-minute approval of Chickasaw Nation casino (August 21, 2017)
Oklahoma tribes won casino approvals on last day of Obama administration (July 19, 2017)
Chickasaw Nation breaks ground on $10M casino by Texas border (May 25, 2017)