Jason Hauter Explains Legislation, Tribal Opposition to New Casino in Arizona

Akin Gump’s Jason Hauter, counsel in the firm’s public law and policy practice focusing on American Indian law and policy, is quoted extensively in the article “Gila River attorney gives breakdown on opposition to Tohono O’odham casino,” published by The Glendale Star, a weekly publication based in Glendale, Arizona.

The article discusses the opposition of the Gila River and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian communities to a casino proposed by the Tohono O’odham Nation.  Hauter, himself a member of the Gila River Indian Community, notes that a bill introduced this month (H.R. 1410: To prohibit gaming activities on certain Indian lands in Arizona until the expiration of certain gaming compacts) by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., “mirrors or reaffirms what the 17-tribe coalition promised in their Prop. 202 campaign, capping the number of casinos in the metro area.  This legislation prohibits all tribes from putting a casino on land that is placed in trust after Jan. 1 of this year. So, even if Gila River Indian Community or Salt River Pima-Maricopa wanted to place a casino on trust land, this would prohibit that.”

He notes that an earlier bill (H.R. 2938) had passed the House but not the Senate, but that this new bill is “less restrictive,” adding that “H.R. 2938 was a more restrictive approach because it singled out the [Tohono O’odham] and amended their legislation they benefited from. And it was a permanent bar, too.”

Hauter believes the new bill is successful because “I think, politically, congressional members see this as not singling out a tribe. All tribes will be bound by this. And it expires roughly around the expiration of the compact.”