October 12, 1995 in Nation/World

High Court Shuns Tribe’s Casino Case

From Staff And Wire Reports Sta
 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s appeal to be allowed to conduct casino gambling.

Idaho Attorney General Alan Lance called the high court’s move an important victory for Idaho.

Tribal leaders were disappointed, but will press on with the tribe’s other lucrative gambling operations, tribal press secretary Bob Bostwick said.

“We have so many irons in the fire, and we’ve got to keep the other irons hot,” he said.

In the two years since the suit was filed, the tribe has opened a bingo hall in Worley and is trying to put together a national telephone lottery.

Tribal officials expect to earn more than $1 million from the bingo hall and its video pull-tab machines this year. If the lottery can overcome resistance from other states, it would earn a projected $200 million per year for the 1,300-member tribe.

Wednesday’s ruling won’t affect the tribe’s existing games.

In the lawsuit, the Coeur d’Alenes contended that they could conduct casino gambling on their reservation under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

In 1992, Idaho voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting casino gambling.

A Boise federal judge, the late Harold Ryan, ruled against the tribe. Because the state prohibits casino gambling for its citizens, he said, the state didn’t have to negotiate with the Coeur d’Alenes to allow casino gambling. The ruling was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Coeur d’Alenes’ bingo, pull-tab machines and lottery fall under uncontested portions of the tribe’s agreement with the state, known as a compact. The compact allows the tribe to conduct the same types of gambling allowed elsewhere in the state, including horse-, mule- and dog-racing.

Bostwick pointed out that the tribe is diversifying its sources of revenue, lessening the blow of Wednesday’s ruling.

“We weren’t wedded to that half of the compact,” he said. “This just means that our gambling operations won’t expand to that type of casino gambling.”

In recent years, the tribe has opened a supermarket, auto shop and medical center in Plummer. The tribe also runs a large tribal farm and logging operation.

“Twenty-five years ago, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe had three employees,” Bostwick said. “Now we have 337.”

, DataTimes MEMO: Cut in the Spokane edition.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = From staff and wire reports Staff writer Rich Roesler contributed to this report.

Cut in the Spokane edition.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = From staff and wire reports Staff writer Rich Roesler contributed to this report.


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