December 21, 2010
In violation of the state and federal law, the Bay Mills Indian Community was forced to close their new casino that just opened last month in Vanderbilt. The state attorney general's office issued a letter to the tribe stating that the casino is not operating on tribal land. This is required by law. The Bay Mills Casino has received criticism from the beginning from other area tribes about the law violation.
Last summer property in the Lower Peninsula was purchased by the tribe. The Bay Mills reservation is located in the Upper Peninsula. The tribe believes that the land purchase falls within the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. In the letter that was issued, the tribe stated they can operate the casino since they already have an approved compact with the state. They believe this gives them the legal right to operate the casino without state or federal approval. The tribe currently operates two other casinos. Both are located in the Upper Peninsula.
Officials for the state that the new casino in Vanderbilt does not qualify for a casino location. The impact on this matter could be long reaching. It will determine the ability for tribes to own casinos not on their tribal land.
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