There’s no more legal impediment to the opening of the US$510 million Ilani Casino Resort after the U.S. Supreme Court (SC) did not take cognizance of the appeal of opponents challenging the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s claim over a reservation near La Center in Washington state.
The Columbian reported that the SC declined to hear the suit claiming that a federal mandate was wrongly used to give the tribe a 152-acre plot in 2010. The denial was indicated on page seven of an unsigned, nine-page order that the SC issued on Mondays.
“This is a triumphant moment for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe because it marks the end of a 160-year journey back to our homeland,” a delighted Cowliz Chairman Bill Iyall said in a Facebook post. “The Cowlitz, the Forever People, are forever home.”
Opponents, who claimed the Cowlitz tribe did not have significant historical connections to the plot of land it sought, expressed their disappointment at the dismissal of their appeal.
“We still believe in the principles of our fight, and obviously we’re disappointed,” said representative John Bockmier. “We are going to do our best to ensure the remaining two cardrooms in La Center continue to be the number one choice for folks looking for gaming entertainment.”
With the SC setting aside the law suit, Cowlitz may now open its casino resort on the land at the end of the April. Jointly developed by the Cowlitz tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, the casino is projected to attract millions of visitors annually. It is 16 miles north of Portland, just west of Exit 16 on Interstate 5.
Oneida Indians plan new casino near Syracuse
In other tribal casino news, the Oneida Indian Nation is now eyeing to open a third casino near Syracuse in central New York.
The Times Union reported that the tribe plans to construct the Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, which is less than 50 miles from the del Lago Resort and Casino in the Finger Lakes region.
The Lago is one of three Las Vegas-style casinos that have recently opened in upstate New York.