Proposed Lansing Casino Clears Another Obstacle In Federal Court
A casino proposed for downtown Lansing took another step toward reality on Wednesday when a federal judge threw out the state of Michigan's case against it.
U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ruled that the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians didn't violate the law when it submitted a trust application to federal officials without entering into a revenue-sharing agreement with other recognized American Indian tribes in Michigan, the Lansing State Journal reports.
It could be the end of the state's case against the proposed casino, which would be located adjacent to the Lansing Center.
Facing no other law suits, the tribe will move forward with developing a Class II gaming casino, said John Wernet, the Sault Ste. Marie tribe's lawyer. There is still a dispute over adding Class III gaming such as slot machines, roulette and black jack.
“The case is done,” Wernet said. “The Attorney General could appeal, but I’m not sure why he would. The decision is based on clear block lettering.”
Wernet said he expects more impediments to be attempted by opponents of the casino. He said if the site of the proposed gaming facility is taken into trust it would still take months to determine whether that land is eligible for gaming--that means more negotations with the state.
“We favor sitting down and talking with the state,” Wernet said. “It would be a lot more efficient than beating each other up in court.”