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West Valley Resort Casino Files Lawsuit Against Gov. Doug Ducey

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June 24, 2015

The Tohono O'odham tribe is planning on opening their casino at the end of this year. A new lawsuit has been filed by the tribe against top state officials, including Gov. Doug Ducey.

The tribe is asking a federal judge to stop the state of Arizona from preventing the opening of the casino.

In 2013 the court ruled in favor of the Tohono O'odham casino project. A federal judge stated that the tribe was allowed to open a casino based on the Arizona gaming compact and the federal law.

However, opponents state that the casino is illegal based on a gaming compact from 2002. One of the opposing groups includes the Gila River Indian Community.

An appeal has been filed over the current ruling.

Potential employees could be notified by the state about working at a gaming facility that is not authorized. Also, vendors for the West Valley Resort have received notice by the Department of Gaming that they could lose their certification if they work for the casino.

Legal troubles over the casino have lasted for six years.

The tribe claims that Gov. Ducey is trying to block the casino by defying the federal law.

On Monday the lawsuit was filed.

Ducey stated in a letter sent to state Gaming Director Daniel Bergin that Arizona can cancel its gaming compact with the tribe at any time. That letter was sent in April.

Ducey believes that the tribe committed fraud due to the lack of disclosure on the tribes plans to build the casino during negotiations with the state over the new gaming compact.

The Tohono O'odham denies the fraud. Casinos are allowed to be built on tribal land. Land between Glendale and Peoria was purchased by the tribe and taken into trust in 2010. This was approved by the Department of the Interior.

Department of the Interior was then sued by the city of Glendale and the Gila River Indian Community stating that the land trust was approved without considering the possibility that the Tohono O'odham would build a casino there.

The Tohono O'odham has also been sued by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community stating that the tribe was in violation of the gaming compact from 2002.

The Tohono O'odham won both cases in federal court.

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