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New BIA rule excludes Fort Sill Apache and Jemez Pueblo casinos

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July 28, 2008

LAS CRUCES, NM - A spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs said the new BIA 25-mile rule will not affect casinos proposed by the Fort Sill Apaches and Jemez Pueblo. The rule adopted last May states that Indian casinos should be located within 25 miles of a reservation's headquarters.

Nedra Darling, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., said the new rule does not affect the Fort Sill Apache Tribe or the Jemez Pueblo. She said on Friday, "It doesn't apply to either."

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma has built a casino in Akela east of Deming. It remains unopened after a dispute with the governor and the National Indian Gaming Association.

The Jemez Pueblo of northern New Mexico has proposed a casino in Anthony, but its initial application was rejected by the federal government last January.

The "25-mile" rule is intended to resolve questions about the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which allows off-reservation gambling only on trust land controlled by a tribe. Tribes may qualify for an exception to the rule, when seeking reservation status and permission to operate casinos on newly acquired land away from their reservation, if the tribe can show any of the following:
1. A significant number of its members live nearby.
2. The tribe can demonstrate a current connection to the property.
3. Other tribal government facilities have been located on the land for at least two years before an application is filed for new reservation land.

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