U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in Vanderbilt Casino case

gavelThe U.S. Supreme Court today (Tuesday) ruled against the State of Michigan in its lawsuit against the Bay Mills Indian Community for operating a casino in the village of Vanderbilt in Otsego County.

In its 5-4 decision, the court agreed the Bay Mills Tribe has immunity from the lawsuit brought by Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Members of Michigan’s other federally recognized tribes support the ruling with regards to maintaining sovereign immunity, while at the same time opposing any further expansion of gaming on non-tribal lands.

Frank Clotier is spokesperson for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Mt Pleasant.

He said, “Competition is a healthy thing in any business. Michigan has gotten to the point now where there isn’t any more new gaming business to be had. You know, other location (it’s) a transference of wealth; it’s certainly not new money or new revenue so expanding gaming is just not healthy for Michigan at this point.”

Clotier said he supports the language of the high court decision that says Michigan would have criminal jurisdiction over any individual operators or patrons of the casino, should it reopen.

To do so, Clotier said, would constitute illegal gaming operation because the Vanderbilt property is on non-tribal land.