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Casino Closed by California Judge after Armed Tribal Factions Confrontation
- October 13, 2014 By Oliver Young -
California’s federal judge ruled an immediate closure of a central California land based casino after a showdown between tribal factions with guns which caused many casino players to leave the casino in panic leaving their chips on the gambling tables, reports Fresnobee.
Lawrence O’Neill, the United States’ district judge, got an emergency request by the state attorney general to immediately shut down the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino setting no date for future reopening. The casino is located in Coarsegold, about 40 miles north of Fresno. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.
The National Indian Gaming Commission also wanted to see the casino shut down announcing a threat to people’s safety that might result in serious injuries or possible death.
The Armed Showdown
Two months ago a faction was ousted from the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino to a tribal business centre. Last Thursday it returned to the casino. The gaming commission has reported that each faction controlled specific casino sectors and wasn’t willing to withdrew as Friday was approaching.
According to John Anderson, the sheriff of Madera County, approximately 500 players fled the casino that night. He also added that he was worried that tensions would escalate quickly so he asked the federal officials and state for immediate help. The department of the sheriff made a deal with approximately 20 armed members after people left the casino. The sheriff added that there were neither arrests nor any serious injuries.
“When the war moved onto the casino floor, we had to stop it,” said Anderson. “Instead of getting closer to a common solution we have gotten farther away.” The sheriff and his people were guarding the casino and hotel on Friday.
Intervention from Government Officials Needed
The gaming commission said that it would shut down the casino if the tribe doesn’t give them financial documents and game audits by October 27, 2014. The audit they have is 18 months overdue. According to Kenneth Hansen, a professor in Fresno State and the author of the book The New Politics of Indian Gaming, it was about time government officials intervened.
Tom Wheeler, the supervisor of Madera County, said that the closure of the casino will have devastating impact on the economy. However, he is more worried about the potential violence so he urged authorities to immediately shut down the casino.
The lawyer of the faction that controlled the casino till August, Rob Rosette, said that the other group didn’t want to negotiate and settle things for a couple of months. According to the treasurer for the tribal council Vernon King, his group, the one that was ousted from the casino, wanted to get audit information and avoid the closure this month. The casino has about 1,000- 1,500 employed people and provides about $450 a month to each of the 900 tribal members.
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