For Immediate Release ~ December 19, 2003
Washington, DC – Philip Hogen, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, announced today that the Commission approved a petition by the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa to reopen the Tribe’s Meskwaki Casino. Hogen, as Chairman of the Commission, issued a temporary closure on May 13, 2003, citing regulatory violations stemming from the fact that the Casino was not under the control of a federally recognized Tribal Government, a requirement of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The closure was made permanent by action of the full Commission on September 10, 2003 (Docket No. NIGC 2003-1). The results of the October 21, 2003, Tribal election, which would have clarified the Tribal leadership issue, were appealed, necessitating the need to continue the closure order until a determination was made on the election results.
Hogen said, “We are pleased that the Casino is again being operated by a federally recognized Tribal Government and the employees can go back to work and revenues can be generated to meet tribal needs.” Hogen further commented, “The National Indian Gaming staff recently visited the Casino to determine that required internal gaming controls are in place and to discuss the results of a BIA funded audit of the Casino operations. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs Aurene Martin has recognized the results of the October 21, 2003, election and the casino should now be allowed to reopen under the direction of federally recognized leadership.” Hogen noted that the initial closure was not occasioned by deficiencies in the mechanics of the Tribe’s operation, but by violations related to the underlying tribal leadership concerns.
The National Indian Gaming Commission is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.
For further information contact:
Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission