Attorneys Help Small Tribes Enter the Gaming Market Over Opposition from Oklahoma’s Big Money Tribes

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Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. filed a Motion to Dismiss in response to a lawsuit brought in Cherokee Nation v. U.S. Department of the Interior, No. 1:20-cv-02167, pending before Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

UKB KTT Indian Gaming Compact

Motion to Dismiss

We are confident that this case will be dismissed and that our clients will be able to receive the benefits of Indian gaming that the Plaintiff tribes have received for so many years

This week two small Oklahoma tribes filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit meant to shut down their future economic development through Indian gaming. The plaintiffs, four of the largest gaming tribes in Oklahoma, are attempting to block the United Keetoowah Band (Cherokee ancestry) and the Kialegee Tribal Town (Creek ancestry) from participating in Oklahoma’s gaming industry.

Four fellow Oklahoma tribes have filed a lawsuit to challenge the new gaming compacts between the United Keetoowah Band, the Kialegee Tribal Town, and the State of Oklahoma. The plaintiffs are the Cherokee Nation, which owns and operates 10 Indian casinos; the Chickasaw Nation, owner of 20 Indian casinos, including the country’s largest; the Choctaw Nation, which operates 21 Indian casinos; and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, which owns and operates the Grand Casino and the FireLake Casino.

The United Keetoowah Band and the Kialegee Tribal Town do not operate a single Indian gaming facility. They rely almost exclusively on federal grant and program money to fund services for their citizens, which often is insufficient to cover basic needs. But for seven months starting in December 2019, these two tribes negotiated the terms of respective tribal-state gaming compacts with Governor Stitt of Oklahoma. In July, the parties signed the compacts and sent them to the Secretary of the Interior for final approval under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In August, the compacts were deemed approved by operation of law, and in September, they took legal effect.

For years the United Keetoowah Band and the Kialegee have attempted to obtain the authorizations required to earn government revenue through the operation of a gaming facility, but they consistently have met with opposition from the larger and more powerful tribes.

In the Motion to Dismiss filed by mctlaw, Judge Kelly was asked to recognize that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not provide a cause of action for one tribe to sue another in an attempt to undermine approval of a compact.

Attorney Jeffrey Nelson, who heads mctlaw’s Indian law practice, stated: “We are confident that this case will be dismissed and that our clients will be able to receive the benefits of Indian gaming that the Plaintiff tribes have received for so many years.”

mctlaw looks forward to representing the United Keetoowah Band and the Kialegee Tribal Town and in seeing these tribes be able to become economically self-sufficient. Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. is a national litigation law firm with offices in Washington, DC; Sarasota, Florida; and Seattle, Washington.

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Jeffrey C. Nelson
@MCT_Lawyers
since: 12/2015
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