Court rules in favor of tribe; casino may go in near Glendale

September 12, 2012

A Native American tribe has won a key legal battle in its bid to locate a casino near Glendale. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split decision, rejected arguments that the Department of Interior was wrong when it allowed the Tohono O'odham Tribe to make a 54-acre parcel near Glendale part of its reservation.

Glendale and the Gila River Indian Community had sued, claiming that infringed on Arizon'as sovereign rights, because the unincorporated property was surrounded by the City of Glendale.

Arizona Gaming Director Mark Brnovich says the decision is a real game changer. "You are likely to have a casino right in the middle of a large metropolitain area. And I think that creates a certain dynamic and creates a lot of pressure for additional gaming."

Brnovich said voters approved tribal gaming in 2002, on the premise it would be limited to existing reservations. He said lawmakers now may think they might as well others to have gaming in metro areas.

Meanwhile, agents from the Department of Gaming have seized nearly five dozen illegal gambling devices in a raid on more than 40 metro Phoenix businesses. Brnovich says the raids came after a tip that a California criminal enterprise may be moving to Arizona.

"Within the past year or two we have done several operations to clean up illegal gambling devices. And no matter what we say or what we do, these things keep popping up in various locations throughout the state," Brnovich said.

Brnovich said the slot machine-style devices allowed patrons to deposit money and play casino-type games.

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