District court judge sides with Spokane Tribe in casino lawsuits

District court judge sides with Spokane Tribe in casino lawsuits

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington sided with the Spokane Tribe regarding the future of their casino in Airway Heights.

The Kalispel Tribe sued the U.S. government in 2017 over its approval of a rival casino project by the Spokane Tribe. The lawsuit argued the U.S. Department of the Interior gave the Spokane Tribe a rare approval for an off-reservation casino located about two miles from the Kalispel Tribe’s Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

The Kalispel Tribe argued the new casino would have a devastating impact on Northern Quest, which funds nearly all of the tribe’s government operations.

Spokane County also sued the Department of the Interior over its approval of the $400 million casino complex. The Court on Friday rejected the county’s claims that Interior failed to properly consult the county and failed to properly consider impacts to Fairchild Air Force Base Operations.

“We are thrilled that the United States District Court affirmed the Department of Interior’s approval of our gaming application for our Reservation in the City of Airway Heights,” said Carol Evans, Chairwoman for the Spokane Tribal Council. “We are thankful to the United State Department of Justice and our own legal team for their hard work in this case. The court’s decision rests on rock solid judicial and agency precedent.”

The Spokane Tribe Casino opened in January 2018 and has been operating since.

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