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State tries to fight Park City Indian Casino

Back in 2004 the State of Kansas raided the Wyandotte Indian Nation's casino, seizing slot machines and shutting down operations. The Attorney General's office said it was operating illegally.
/ Source: KSNW-TV

Back in 2004 the State of Kansas raided the Wyandotte Indian Nation's casino, seizing slot machines and shutting down operations. The Attorney General's office said it was operating illegally.

A move casino officials said at the time was blatantly over the line and a federal judge agreed saying the casino was on Indian land and the State had no jurisdiction. The casino eventually re-opened.

Now the State of Kansas is taking on the Wyandotte Indians once again, this time over a piece of land in Park City.

In a letter to the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs an assistant with the attorney general's office writes: '"the State of Kansas would strenuously object to the land being used for gaming purposes." The State says the government should deny the tribe's application because the Park City land is too far from the tribe's Oklahoma reservation, Sedgwick county voters have already rejected a casino, and the Wyandotte nation can show no historical connection to the land.

But Doug Spangler, the governmental affairs lobbyist for the Wyandotte nation says he is confident the request will go through.

"I think it will ultimately be successful because it has been lawfully and legally accomplished," Spangler told KSN.

This time, the state has more than just a legal interest but a financial one as well.

A Park City Indian casino would be in direct competition with a state-owned casino set to be built in Sumner County.

State representative Vince Wetta has been working on the Sumner county project for three years now.

"It's a concern, but I don't think it's a show stopper," said Wetta.

Wetta admits talk of an Indian casino in Sedgwick County has concerned investors.

However, he points to Tulsa and Miami Oklahoma, where multiple casinos are thriving in the same area and doesn't believe a Park City casino will be built for several years.

"Sumner County will be well established before anything gets built in Park City," said Representative Wetta.

The application to put the land in trust is currently being reviewed in Washington D.C.

If the federal government approves the application, the Wyandotte tribe can start construction on the casino.

That could happen anytime from right now to five years.

See story video at KSN.com