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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Supreme Court denies Union Springs request to hear Cayuga Nation gaming case

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Cayuga Nation Lakeside Entertainment

The Cayuga Nation has submitted plans to the village of Union Springs for a new gaming center that would be built behind its current Lakeside Entertainment building on Cayuga Street. The plans also include a new parking lot that would be built on land shown at the right of this photo.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition from the the village of Union Springs to appeal lower court rulings that found the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York is exempt from a local gaming ordinance.

The high court's denial exhausts the village's legal attempts to force the nation to abide by a local law that would prohibit its Lakeside Entertainment electronic gaming hall from operating.

Monday's denial upholds rulings made in July by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and a U.S. District Court in March 2020 that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act removes the village's ability to enforce local gambling ordinances with the Cayuga Nation. Lakeside operates under a license from the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The village has argued in court that the nation had already pursued and lost its case to avoid local enforcement with previous litigation that began in the early 2000s, but the appeals court said that claim lacked merit because the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was not a central issue in the old cases. Appeals court justices also rejected an argument that the district court misapplied a Supreme Court ruling related to sovereignty on lands Indian nations acquire on the open market.

Lakeside has been operating for several years under an injunction while the legal arguments have been working its way through the federal court system. The case stems from a 2014 Cayuga Nation lawsuit filed in response to action taken by the village code enforcement officer related to a 1958 village gaming ordinance.

Cayuga Nation plans second gaming center in Union Springs

In the July ruling, the appeals court noted that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not provide the nation with a immunity from from non-gaming ordinances.

Last year, the nation began working through the village's building and site plan review process with respect to an expansion of the Lakeside Trading business. A second facility would offer 142 gaming machines, significantly more than the 86 machines in the existing gaming center. Plans also includes a 77-space parking lot to the north of the existing building.

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