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Federal Government Rules Turning Stone Casino's Gaming Operations are Legal

On June 13, 2007, the Oneida Indian Nation's government won their fight with the Department of Interior. According to tribal officials, they will now be allowed to continue the operation of their Turning Stone Casino facility in Central New York.

The federal agency informed the tribe and Gov. Eliot Spitzer that they would not cancel the approval of the gaming compact made in 1993 by former Governor Mario Cuomo.

A state court subsequently decided that the gaming compact was illegal because it was not officially approved by the state legislature. The Interior Department decided not to reexamine the federal government's first approval of the casino facility of the Oneida Tribe on technical reasons, according to the letter sent to the tribe.

The main technicality was a gaming compact that cannot be changed unless there is a challenge issued 6 years upon approval. The deadline for the challenge was June 1999, according to the Federal agency.

Oneida Tribe officials are currently waiting for the outcome of the tribe's application for 17,000 acres of land, including the location of the gambling casino, which placed under federal trust of the Department of Interior.

Casinos can only be built on Indian Land in the state of New York and the United States Supreme Court has decided that the Turning Stone location is on taxable, non-Indian land.

Both the Spitzer Government and the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have been having second thoughts to close down the casino even though it has been operating in a legal question for several months. The tribe said in a statement that this should put all questions about the validity of the gaming compact to rest.


25 June 2007
News Submitted by:
Jessica Kellerman

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