U.S. Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of West Valley Casino Project in Arizona
On Friday, November 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley, the 18th favorable court and federal agency ruling the project has received. The Ninth Circuit struck down the a state law, H.B. 2534, which attempted to allow the City of Glendale to unilaterally annex a portion of the Nation’s West Valley property which had not been taken into trust as a reservation.
The ruling by the three-judge panel was met by great praise from the tribe. “It is time for the state of Arizona to stop its costly attempts to kill more than 500 new jobs here in Arizona,” Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel said in a press release. “With the opening only six weeks away, it is time to move forward with local communities and the public in support of this positive economic opportunity,”
H.B. 2534 was originally passed in 2011 by the Arizona legislature as part of an attempt to halt the tribe’s efforts to take its West Valley property into trust. Friday’s ruling reaffirmed a previous U.S. District Court ruling that H.B. 2534 would interfere with the Nation’s rights under federal law to move forward with its project.
The Nation’s press release states that the recent Ninth Circuit ruling “deals the latest blow to the State of Arizona’s misguided attempts to block positive job creation and economic growth in Arizona.”
The City of Glendale dropped out of the lawsuit after determining the state’s arguments were unfounded, and Glendale supports the project along with many other Arizona cities, the press release states.
The new Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley is on schedule to open December 20, 2015.
Hiring is underway, with 400 of the more than 500 permanent positions at the casino already filled. Nearly half of the 1,089 gaming devices have already been installed on the casino floor as construction nears completion.
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