Allison Binney Quoted by Global Gaming Business News on SCOTUS Bay Mills Ruling

Global Gaming Business News, for its article “Supremes Sustain Sovereignty” quoted American Indian law and policy partner Allison Binney on Bay Mills Indian Community’s recent U.S. Supreme Court win and its effect on future gaming compact negotiations.

In Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, in a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled in favor of the tribe, which was in litigation with the state for operating an off-reservation casino, to say it was protected by tribal sovereignty. Although the Court upheld the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity in its decision, Binney noted there are still concerns regarding off-reservation tribal casinos.

According to the article, this case was closely watched by Native American tribes, concerned that an unfavorable ruling could lead to further litigation of off-reservation tribal gaming operations. Binney said, “This case was really important because it was basically about whether sovereign immunity exists with regard to commercial activity that occurs outside of Indian land. As tribes become more diverse in their economic development activity more of those activities are occurring off Indian lands.”

She stressed the significance of the case and its potential effect on future gaming compact negotiations, saying, “This is definitely going to have an impact on future compact negotiations. The thinking is that as compacts come up for renegotiation states will want more waivers of sovereign immunity.”

Going forward, Binney noted, states will likely request waivers of sovereign immunity, while tribal officials and casino executives will look for indemnification before working for a tribal casino.