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California Appeals Courts favor Enterprise Rancheria Casino

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October 13, 2016

On Thursday the California appeals court ruled that the state's governor acted within his authority when granting casinos on tribal land.

The United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria had brought the lawsuit. The tribe owns Thunder Valley Casino Resort. It is nearly 30 miles from Sacramento. The tribe sued when the governor approved another casino to be developed 20 miles from Thunder Valley.

In April the Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians broke ground on the new casino.

Under the current law, if a reservation existed before October 17, 1988, then a tribe could build a casino on their land. However, any land that was given to a tribe after that date would not be allowed to do this. This is the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The Secretary of Interior is given the ability to make an exception if a casino would help the tribe and the neighboring area would not be negatively affected. Approval would also need to be given by the governor before the casino could be developed.

When the California governor sided with the Enterprise Rancheria casino the United Auburn decided to sue. The tribe believed that Legislature needed to approve the casino first before the governor could make a decision. Since this did not happen, the tribe felt that the governor's decision was not valid.

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