State Files Suit To Close Vanderbilt Casino

Dec 21, 2010

The state Attorney General filed suit today in federal court to permanently close a small casino in the northern Michigan town of Vanderbilt.

Already last week, the state ordered the casino closed, but it remains open and now the state goes to court to demand it shuttered.

The casino is run by the Bay Mills Indian Community. The Upper Peninsula tribe has a theory that it can open a casino wherever it wants, as long as the money used to buy the land is from a designated pool of funds. The tribe didn't go through the normal state and federal approval processes to open the casino.

Bay Mills is also interested in building a casino in Port Huron, and perhaps other southern Michigan locations as well.

Just this week, Tribal Chairman Jeff Parker issued a statement saying the tribe is convinced its casino is legal. He says Bay Mills is prepared to fight this in the courts.

Another Indian nation, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs, also plans to file suit tomorrow. That tribe wants the casino closed now, before what could be a lengthy battle in the courts.