PARK CITY, Kan.— The federal government has refused to accept a tract of land in Park City into trust so an Indian tribe can build a casino there.
The Kansas Attorney General's Office said Monday that the Interior Department rejected a request from the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma to take the land into trust. The Wyandotte Nation bought the tract in Park City in 1992.
Some officials in Park City have been supportive of the proposed tribal casino.
"We're trying to develop the I-135 corridor up here and there's a lot of commercial property. If we get a casino up here, it could draw more people down the highway, which then would make some of the adjoining property more viable for commercial development," said Jack Whitson, city administrator for Park City.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows tribes to conduct gambling only on Indian lands, which are defined as land within a reservation or held in trust by the United States.
But the Interior Department has found that the tribe did not have sufficient trust funds to have purchased both the Park City land and a Kansas City tract where it has already built a casino.
In 2007, Sedgwick County voters rejected a possible casino and slot machines at the Greyhound Park.
“We think the Department of the Interior reached the correct legal conclusion in disallowing this land-into-trust application,” said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in a news release. “This decision is one more successful step in defending Kansas law, which does not allow a tribal casino in Sedgwick County. If there are later efforts by the tribe or others to contest the Department’s denial of the application, we will continue to vigorously defend our state’s legal interests.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.