State of Michigan Challenges Proposed Lansing Casino in Federal Court

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The State of Michigan went to court today to block an Indian-owned casino here in Lansing. And it warned that if the Sault Ste. Marie tribe doesn't give up on the Lansing casino, the state might shut down the tribe's casinos in the Upper Peninsula.

An assistant Attorney General argued that the Sault Saint Marie tribe is violating an agreement with other tribes that are operating casinos in the state. According to the state, that agreement known as the Gaming Compact, requires approval from other tribes before an off-reservation casino can be built.

The Sault Ste. Marie tribe's reservation is in the Upper Peninsula, but has bought land in downtown Lansing adjacent to the Lansing Center. It intends to ask the federal government to declare it part of the tribes reservation and clear the way for the casino.

Lawyers for the Sault tribe had their say in court today, too. They're trying to get the judge to toss out the state's challenge.

The judge said he expects a decision within 30 days. Whatever happens this will likely be just the first skirmish in a long legal battle.