Proposed Fourth Indian Casino In SB County Under Review By Federal Agency

The federal entity holding a crucial key to the prospect of gaming house development on Native American land throughout the United States is in the final stages of clearing the way for a fourth casino in expansive San Bernardino County.
At present, there are three Indian Casinos up and running in 20,105 square mile San Bernardino County: The San Manuel Indian Casino near Highland, the Havasu Landing Casino on Lake Havasu near Needles, and Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms.
Those facilities are operated, respectively, by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.
The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians currently has a proposal to construct a gaming facility and hotel in Lenwood near Barstow.
Accordingly, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is carrying out an analysis involving two issues that would need favorable determinations to allow the proposed Indian casino project to proceed in Barstow.
The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a conformity determination with regard to 23 acres of property on which it has proposed what is called a fee-to-trust acquisition. That request asks for the land to be taken into trust in accordance with the tribe’s application that the property can be used for gaming purposes. In doing so, the tribe is seeking to have the property, which currently lies outside its reservation, deemed as being historically related to the tribe. In this way the tribe is making a case that the tribe had ancestral roots in the area to which it is seeking to relocate by virtue of aboriginal activity, which included hunting, foraging and trading, in particular.
This application was submitted under the Indian Reorganization Act. Gaming eligibility for the site would come under the auspices of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Sacramento is carrying out the examination.
If the Bureau of Indian Affairs approves the application, the casino proposal would be submitted to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.
City of Barstow officials almost uniformly are in support of the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians’ proposal, believing providing a gambling venue for the more than 9.8 million travelers between the greater Los Angles area to Las Vegas yearly will provide the city with a windfall.

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