- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) - The Cherokee County Commission has approved a resolution to support the Kansas attorney general’s attempt to bar the Quapaw Tribe from extending a casino from Oklahoma into Kansas.

The Cherokee County Commission approved the resolution Monday, The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1vgIWDf ) reported. The attorney general wants to bar the expansion of the Downstream Casino after the National Indian Gaming Commission granted the Quapaw Tribe permission to expand from Oklahoma onto its former reservation land in Kansas. In 2012, that particular piece of land was placed into a trust stating that it would only be used for parking and agriculture, not gambling. It’s currently used for parking.

“When that land was put in trust it was to stay in the same use,” Cherokee County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand said. “And now they’ve filed for gaming. That’s not the same use.”

In late 2013, Downstream Casino applied to operate Class 3 gambling, which includes roulette and craps, on the land in Kansas. Class 3 gambling is unconstitutional in Oklahoma.

The Quapaw Tribe is one of few in the country that had reservations in more than one state. Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, land acquired after 1988 is not eligible for gambling, but the Indian Gaming Commission made an exception because of the Quapaw Tribe’s unique situation.

The Cherokee County Commission passed resolutions earlier this year endorsing other casino developers who want to build in the county.

“If the Quapaw Tribe would have put in a bid just like the other casinos did, would have met the state requirements, then I have no doubt we would have supported that as well,” the commissioner said. “The difference is, with anything they build on that trust land, there are no tax dollars involved, no revenue to the county.”

Quapaw Chairman John Berrey disputed the commissioner’s assertion that the county would not benefit from the expansion.

“We’re one of the largest employers, we buy goods and services, we pay taxes - it’s crazy,” Berrey said. “They’re already benefiting from us. They would only benefit more in having more jobs, more taxes, more consumption of materials, more economic development, so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t support us.”


Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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