Rehearing Granted in Big Lagoon Casino Appeal

California may have to negotiate terms for a controversial Indian casino on an 11-acre parcel at Big Lagoon near Eureka after all.  A federal appeals court voted Wednesday for a second roll of the dice on the state’s obligations under the Indian Gaming Regulator Act.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted to rehear the casino case after a three-judge panel in January blocked development of the gambling house on scenic coastal land in California’s far north.

The original panel held that California did not violate the IGRA by failing to negotiate a tribal-state gaming compact.  The panel held the tribe did not have jurisdiction over Indian lands in question.

On Wednesday, a majority of the full court voted to rehear the case.

California reluctantly entered into a deal to allow Big Lagoon Rancheria to operate a casino on the parcel in HumboldtCounty after U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken  favored the rancheria.

The three-judge panel then reversed in January in a 2-1 vote saying Big Lagoon could not demand negotiations on a parcel that was not Indian land.

The case is likely to be heard in 2015 after briefing is complete.

Case: Big Lagoon Rancheria v. State of California, No. 10-17803


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