U.S. Supreme Court allows lawsuit to move foward on Gun Lake Casino

Jun 18, 2012

Michigan's Gun Lake Casino is under threat to shut down after less than two years in operation.

The U.S. Supreme Court said a lawsuit challenging the west Michigan casino can move forward.  The suit said the casino increases traffic and hurts the aesthetic of the rural area.

It said the U.S. Department of the Interior should never have reserved land for the tribe that runs the casino. That's because the Gun Lake tribe was not federally recognized during the Indian Reorganization Act. The Act was passed in 1934. It spells out land ownership rights for tribes.

John Shagonaby is the CEO of the Gun Lake Tribal gaming authority.

"The Gun Lake Tribe has been here a long time. We have signed several treaties with the United States government. We’ve had services provided to us by the federal government. We are under jurisdiction, so those claims are without merit, and we look forward to defending those in court when it gets to that point," Shagonaby said.

Shagonaby says the land where the casino is located has been in federal trust since 2009. He says it took nine years of legal battles to get the casino approved.