Shuttered Nooksack Northwood Casino begins token exchange
Following the closure of Nooksack Northwood Casino in the north of Washington last week over alleged violations of the Indian Gaming Act, it has reportedly begun to exchange cash for customers’ unused slot tokens.
According to a report by The Bellingham Herald, The Whatcom County Casino, which employs about 100 people, opened in 2007 by the state-approved Nooksack Indian Tribe and offered more than 350 slot machines as well as a souvenir shop and three restaurants.
The newspaper reported that the slot tokens of Nooksack Northwood Casino expire within 30 days of their issuance and customers with unused valid vouchers can exchange them for cash by visiting the venue, which is located on Northwood Road, about five Miles north of the city of Lynden, between the hours of 11 o’clock and 15 o’clock.
The Bellingham Herald reported that the Bureau of Indian Affairs had ordered the Nooksack Indian tribe to close down the casino on Thursday after “numerous violations of the Indian gambling laws were brought forward, including the fact that all tribal games were” run by one state-recognized leadership “. This is reportedly because the federal government does not accept the authority of the current tribal council after the tribe did not hold new elections to replace four seats that expired at the end of March 2016.
Although the tribe was reported to have held elections in January of this year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs refused to acknowledge the results, as the Nooksack Indian tribe two months earlier had some controversy over some 306 people for allegations that these individuals had not had deleted his member lists enough blood ties and had been registered by mistake. The Federal Government therefore assumes that the last elections took place without quorum and were therefore unlawful.
“The closure is saddening because it was completely avoidable,” said Gabe Galanda, a lawyer working for some of the excluded members, opposite The Bellingham Herald. “My clients did not want closure or further destruction of their tribe. They just want and want a choice so that the voice of Nooksack can finally be heard.
” The newspaper said the federal government’s closing order also alleged that the Nooksack Indian tribe had failed to maintain and operate the Nooksack Northwood Casino in a manner that adequately protected the environment and the health and safety of the public. This lawsuit is based on a study by the Environmental Protection Agency that found deficiencies in the Safe Drinking Water Act on six water systems, including one for the casino.
Finally, The Bellingham Herald reported that the authorities also called for the closure of the Nooksack Northwood Casino, as the Nooksack Indian Tribe had not performed background checks or obtained gaming licenses for some of the tribal councilors and executives of the casino.
“This closure demonstrates the lack of leadership and competence in running a business, let alone a tribe,” said Michelle Roberts, one of the people excluded from the Nooksack Indian Tribe, the newspaper. “The violations described by the National Indian Gaming Commission were under their control and could easily be prevented.”