Colusa Casino appeals
Spurned by one federal court in its bid force new slot machine licenses from the state, the tribe that owns Colusa Casino will turn to another.
The Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians filed an appeal Wednesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The move came three weeks after a federal judge in Sacramento dismissed the tribe's lawsuit against the California Gambling Control Commission.
The Cachil Dehe, which operates 864 slot machines at its casino, wants licenses to add 377 more.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. threw out the suit, ruling Cachil Dehe could not proceed without the support of other casino-owning tribes that he called “indispensable parties” in the case.
The state had argued giving extra licenses to one tribe would be unfair to other tribes, because of a cap on the total number of gambling devices statewide.
“We never had the opportunity to have the (suit's) merits heard in district court,” George Forman, the tribe's attorney, said Friday.
If the 9th Circuit accepts the appeal, a three-judge panel will rule only on whether other tribes must join the Cachil Dehe in its suit. A victory for the tribe would send the case back to the district court.
The appellate court will likely hear the case at its San Francisco base or in Pasadena, according to Forman.
The dispute stems from the annual state-controlled drawings to allot slots licenses to Native American tribes. In 2003, the Cachil Dehe bid for the right to install 377 machines, but the state placed the tribe in a lower-priority tier and the tribe was shut out.
The tribe later challenged California's control over slots licenses, which intensified in 2001 after its gaming commission took control of license drawings from the tribes. After the state turned aside the challenge, the tribe sued in October 2004.