Vanderbilt Casino Ordered Closed

Mar 29, 2011

The Vanderbilt Casino has been ordered closed immediately. The casino is north of Gaylord, and it's owned by the Bay Mills Indian Community.

At about 9:30 this morning, Federal Judge Paul Maloney ordered the casino closed by noon. Maloney says there's a good chance the casino is not legal.

Determining whether or not the casino is legal could take a long time for the courts to decide. The judge says keeping the Vanderbilt Casino open through the court process would do irreparable harm to a larger casino in Petoskey, by siphoning away some of the Odawa Casino Resort's customers.

The small casino in Vanderbilt opened quietly with a few slot machines last November. It's since expanded to 84 machines. It didn't go through the process for approval normally done for off-reservation gaming operations. Bay Mills leaders argue the casino is legal, and the tribe is interested in building casinos in other parts of the state as well.

The Upper Peninsula tribe is being sued by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs, as well as the state of Michigan.