The NIGC Can Fix Bay Mills
By now, we all knows the risk of Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court this winter. The Indian gaming sky is literally falling. What began as a fight over whether Bay Mills could open an off-reservation casino on Indian lands-claims property, has devolved into a direct attack on (1) tribal sovereign immunity and (2) tribal sovereignty over gaming.
Ideally, the Bay Mills Tribal Gaming Commission will exercise Indian sovereignty as the primary regulator of the casino and issue its own closure order, mooting this issue. But if its lacks that foresight or resolve, the NIGC should close the casino. And it can. Plainly, the NIGC is authorized to temporarily close “an Indian game” when a tribe violates IGRA, its own laws, a compact, or its gaming ordinance. 25 USC § 2713. Indian game is not defined in IGRA. Whatever it means, it does not appear to be limited to games on Indian land. Historically, the NIGC has been either too paternal (CRIT) or too afraid (Bay Mills) when it needs to act in the best interests of governmental gaming. Abdicating the agency’s core responsibility as to Bay Mills is no longer an option.
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