Buffalo (AP) – A judge has ruled that the Seneca Indian Nation does not have the right to build a casino on a site where it has started construction.
The judge, William M. Skretny, of Federal District Court, set aside a decision by the National Indian Gaming Commission that allowed the casino, ruling in favor of opponents who sued to stop it.
Judge Skretny said that land the Senecas purchased in 2005 qualified as “Indian lands” under federal guidelines, but that it did not meet exceptions that would make it eligible for gambling.
The Senecas have been operating a temporary casino on the site while building the permanent one, a USD 333 million project.
It is not clear whether the temporary casino will remain open.
The Seneca’s president, Maurice John, said the tribe would discuss its options with federal officials who have jurisdiction over Indian gambling.
“The court’s decision is lengthy and requires much closer analysis,” Mr. John said in a statement. “We want to be sure that the court was aware of and considered all of the applicable federal law.”