Pokagon Band Settles Revenue Sharing Dispute & Amends Gaming Compact

From the Business Review Western Michigan:

Amendments to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’s gaming compact will give the state an immediate $15 million and give the tribe the right to open limited satellite casinos in Hartford and Dowagiac, Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s office announced today.

The amended compact resolves issues between the state of Michigan and the tribe that led to the Pokagon Band’s withholding revenue-sharing payments to the state for most of the 14 months its Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo Township has been open.

The band contended the state’s Club Keno game eliminated the tribe’s exclusive rights to operate electronic games of chance. The exclusivity provision was deleted from the amended compact. As a result of this change, the band immediately will make an initial annual payment of more than $15 million to the state.

Similar disputes between the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians were resolved earlier this year. Amendments to compacts do not require approval of the state legislature.

The amendments to the 1998 compact extend the life of the compact from 2018 to 2028, to ensure a full 20 years, as the original compact intended, according to the joint announcement. A series of lawsuits delayed the casino’s opening to August 2008.

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Keno Case Settled

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

TRAVERSE CITY — A settlement in a three-year-old lawsuit between the state and two northern Michigan Indian tribes will reduce Michigan’s cut of tribal gambling money, but will shake loose millions in escrowed state revenue.

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Petoskey and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Manistee approved a settlement with the state to end a long-running dispute over the Michigan Lottery’s Club Keno game.

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The Keno Case

In State of Michigan v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians et al., the State is suing LRB and LTBB for violation of the gaming compacts requirement that the tribes share revenue from their gaming operations — LTBB Compact & LRB Compact. The tribes stopped payment when Governor Granholm authorized the state to begin keno at bars and restaurants. Senior District Court Judge Miles granted the State’s motion for summary judgment last April. The appeal to the Sixth Circuit is forthcoming. As those briefs go online, we will upload them here.

Judge Miles’ opinion is here: Opinion and Order

The State’s motion for summary judgment is here: Motion for Summary J

The tribes’ response brief is here: Tribes’ Brief

The State’s reply brief is here: Reply Brief