November 13, 2012

If you live in Southern Oregon, you’ll want to check out the Wall St. Journal story about the current casino battle going on: WSJ.com – Tribes Clash Over Gambling* (FYI -The article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal until Saturday, November 17th).

At the heart of the conflict about building a casino in Medford is the “taking in trust” practice in which a tribe designates off-reservation land as tribal. To open a casino on such land, a tribe needs approval from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. These approvals were rare in the Bush administration, but the Obama administration has significantly eased approvals. Last year the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs even rescinded the “commutable distance” requirement. So, now 20 tribes in 10 states have requests pending.

Since I’ve done consulting work for a variety of tribes over the past decade, I’m not taking sides at this moment. But this is going to be a hot and important issue for everyone that lives in Southern Oregon in 2013.

Happy Veterans Day.

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