Tohono O’odham Nation settles with Arizona

The Tohono O'Odham Nation and Arizona settled.

Credits: 3TV / CBS 5.

The litigation between the Tohono O’odha Nation and the State of Arizona regarding the Desert Diamond casino ended on a deal between parties.

US.- The Tohono O’odham Nation and the State of Arizona have settled the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley dispute. Both parties made a joint announcement last Wednesday in which they made public their agreement to end the litigation.

The deal allows the Nation to conduct its Class III gaming at the casino located near the city of Glendale under an amended tribal-state compact (to be reviewed and approved by the Secretary of the Interior) and Arizona will process its certification and liquor license normally. Furthermore, the state won’t oppose the Tohono O’odham intentions to have the Desert Diamond’s neighbouring land taken into trust.

In return, the Nation won’t conduct Class II or III gaming anywhere but in a designated area during the term of the agreement. It also won’t request the Secretary of the Interior to take other lands into trust for gaming, despite keeping its power to acquire new reservation land under the “Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act.” Restrictions can be terminated if any law forbids the Tohono O’odham from said activities in the West Valley land or if another tribe begins to conduct Class III gaming in the designated area.

The agreement ends the litigation between both parties and will last until the Nation’s current or a potential posterior compact ends. If there’s no new compact, the agreement will last for 15 years after it becomes effective.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward D. Manuel celebrated the deal and said that they “had been working towards this day”. He also commented: “The Nation is eager to continue with its West Valley investment to create thousands of new jobs, positive economic development, and a world-class casino resort that all of Arizona can be proud of.”

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also rejoiced and said: “This agreement is a major victory for Arizona, one that ensures that there are meaningful restrictions on additional casinos in the greater-Phoenix-metro area.”

“This agreement brings the litigation on this issue to a close. It is time for us to move forward together. I am eager to continue meeting with gaming tribes to discuss how we can modernize the tribal-state gaming compacts and create positive economic opportunities for all Arizonans. I welcome the Tohono O’odham Nation to this process.”