Arizona Adds Hurdle to Glendale Casino

The efforts of the Tohono O'odham Nation to build an off-reservation casino in Glendale, Arizona hit another roadblock last week when a state official said he would not issue a certification for the new casino. Tribal chairman Ned Norris Jr. (l.) isn’t happy.

The Tohono O’odham Nation has endured years of attacks and negative publicity aimed at halting an off-reservation casino in Glendale, Arizona. The tribe has won in every court, and in the past year, received federal approval for taking the land into trust and began construction. Still neighboring tribes, the two U.S. senators and mayors of nearby towns continued the assault.

Last week, a bigger problem arose when Arizona Gaming Department Director Daniel Bergin said he didn’t favor the casino and will not issue a certificate of operation. Bergin acted on the urging of Governor Doug Ducey, who claims the tribe knew the risks when it began construction. In a letter to Bergin, Ducey accused the tribe of committing fraud on the state, other tribes and state voters by not disclosing their intent to build a casino in the Phoenix area, away from their Tucson reservation. He reserved the right to cancel their gaming compact even for existing casinos.

Tribal chairman Ned Norris Jr. called the latest’s state move a “new low,” and a “blatant abuse of power.”