Northwood Casino Reopens its doors following June’s federal closure

  • The Casino was shut in June for ‘numerous violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
  • The reopening has been allowed to happen under four strict conditions

The Nooksack Tribe owned Northwood casino has reopened its doors after being forced to shut in June due to a federal order.

Northwood Casino
Northwood Casino reopens

The 10-year-old casino situated near the town of Lynden in the State of Washington was ordered to be closed by the National Gaming Commission in the summer after cited for numerous violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act but has now reached a settlement agreement with the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Northwood under close scrutiny

The reopening is subject to the casino complying to four conditions according to the commissions news release and are stated as below.

  • 1. Nooksack Tribal chairman Robert Kelly holds an election for positions on the Tribes governing council
  • 2. All issues raised in the US Environemental Protection Agency administrative orders must be resolved by October 10th
  • 3. Any violation of their agreement will result in a $13 million fine and failure to comply with the T&C’s will result in the closure once more
  • 4. The Tribes net gaming revenue shall be used solely for certain enumerated governmental expenditures

“The settlement agreement ensures that the tribe’s assets and operations, as well as the interests of the public, are protected/”National Indian Gaming Commission Statement

Not ‘Fully’ Recognised

A major part of the reason for the closure of the casino in June was due to the current tribal council not being fully recognised as a ‘legitimate’ governing body by the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The gaming commission stated that Tribal gaming must be conducted by a federally recognised leadership in which current Nooksack Tribe Chairman Robert Kelly has not been deemed.

Blood is thicker than water

The Tribe have been in the midst of a legal battle to replace 280 people from their tribe citing that those members did not have strong enough blood ties to the tribe.

However, the Bureau of Indian Affairs stated that the tribe did not have a quorum necessary since March last year. The BIA sent numerous warnings which were not heeded and funding was then suspended by federal agencies.

That funding has since been provided again after Kelly signed the agreement but the memorandum means that the Tribe will most likely be unable to expel those 280 members.

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