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Off-reservation casino in Michigan cannot be shut down

A casino in Michigan was opened back in 2010, using funds that a local tribe had gotten based on a government settlement for treaties signed back in the 1800s, and it has been a subject of contention ever since. According to some, the problem was that it was actually 90 miles from the reservation. They also said that the casino was constructed and opened to the public without getting the necessary permission from the government.

The tribe argued that they should have tribal sovereign immunity. This is what protects those who run casinos from any laws or interference on the part of the state government and the federal government.

On the other side of the issue, though, those who are trying to enforce the law say that they are just trying to stop any unauthorized casinos.

A ruling has at last come down from the Supreme Court, and it says that lawmakers in Michigan are not going to be able to shut down the casino, as they wanted to. The court ruled that tribal sovereign immunity did in fact apply to this case.

In an interesting twist, it was explained that the laws that govern the Native American casinos are only able to govern the ones that are actually on the reservations. This one, being off of the tribal lands, is not within the jurisdiction of those laws, so they cannot legally shut it down.

When commercial litigation involves laws that do not apply in the same way to all groups of people, things can get very complicated. It is important that individuals who are working in a sector like this know exactly what rights they have and where those rights are applicable.

Source: ABC, "Supreme Court Says Mich. Can't Block Indian Casino" Sam Hananel, May. 27, 2014

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