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Beginning of the End of the New Graton Casino?

Last updated Tuesday, November 5, 2013 13:59 ET

Notice of Appeal filed in Superior Court aims to close controversial casino.

Rohnert Park, USA, 11/05/2013 / SubmitMyPR /

On opening day of the Graton Casino in Rohnert Park, Stop Graton Casino has signaled it's intent to shut the Graton casino down by filing its Notice of Appeal with the Superior Court of the State of California on October 31, 2013.

The Notice of Appeal in the matter of Stop the Casino 101 Coalition, et al v. Edmund G. Brown, Governor. is the first step in having the decision of Judge Elliot Daum reviewed by the higher court.

“Our goal is to shut down the Graton casino with laws that already exist,” said Pastor Chip Worthington, one of the Plaintiffs in the case. “We found it very disturbing that Judge Daum’s decision did not even include his responses to our arguments. That’s a little unorthodox, and that’s why the Appeal.”

Across the country, tribal casinos have been shut down by the courts on such issues as jurisdiction over the land. It is not unreasonable to foresee that the Graton Casino may also be shut down through successful litigation.

In Stop the Casino v. Brown, the Plaintiffs demonstrated to the court that the widely-spread assumption that once the Graton Rancheria had title to the casino site, they automatically obtained jurisdiction, was incorrect under federal and state law. In order for a tribe to conduct gambling on its land, it must have legal jurisdiction over a casino site.

Since the State did not cede sovereignty over the Graton casino site, under all applicable law, the land is still state land, and casino-style gambling is illegal on state land.

Stop Graton Casino showed that one of the requisites for Indian casinos is who has jurisdiction over the site, a requirement that is recited seven times in the statute. But the judge failed to list the requisites or even to indicate if he agreed or disagreed whether jurisdiction over the site is a requisite.

“We’re only asking the court to enforce the laws that govern Indian casinos, “ said Pastor Worthington. “We think this an issue of utmost importance to California, and we hope the higher courts agree.”

Since August 2003, a grassroots coalition of community leaders has been fighting to Stop Graton Casino. The 420,000 square-foot Graton Casino development will destroy Sonoma County’s unique way of life.