KG Urban Enters., LLC v. Patrick, No. 12-1233 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C. 2701-2721, establishes a cooperative federal-state-tribal regime for regulating gaming by federally recognized Indian tribes on Indian lands. The Massachusetts Gaming Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 23K, sect. 3(a), establishes a licensing scheme and other standards for gaming. KG, a potential applicant for a gaming license, argued that the state Act provides unauthorized preferences to Indian tribes and on that basis treats the southeast section of the state differently, and this constitutes a classification on the basis of race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and is inconsistent with congressional intent in the federal Indian gaming statute. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit vacated with respect to the equal protection claim and otherwise affirmed. Whether the tribal provisions are "authorized" by the IGRA such that is subject to only rational basis review is far from clear, presents a difficult question of statutory interpretation, and implicates a practice of the Secretary of the Interior not challenged in this suit. There is apparently no judicial authority addressing the question of whether a state may negotiate a tribal-state compact with a federally recognized tribe that does not presently possess Indian lands.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 22, 2012.