Utah tribe may revive proposal for casino in Colorado
January 23, 2017
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A Utah Indian tribe said it might revive its proposal for a casino across the state line in northwestern Colorado.
The Ute Indian Tribe of Fort Duchesne, Utah, is looking to Colorado because it allows gambling but Utah does not, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/2jlZfzR ). The casino would be in the town of Dinosaur, Colorado.
“Basically it’s in the talking stages — nothing solid,” Ron Wopsock, a member of the tribal council.
“There would have to be support. I guess that’s the difficult part of it,” he said.
The tribe dropped a previous proposal because Colorado’s lieutenant governor at the time, Joe Garcia, expressed concerns, said Thomasina Real Bird, an attorney for the tribe. State law required the approval of the governor’s office because the proposed site was not adjacent to tribal land.
The latest version calls for the tribe to buy about four square miles of federal land in Colorado that would be adjacent to tribal lands in Utah.
Real Bird said the tribe has not contacted the governor’s office about the possibility of another proposal.
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The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the property the tribe would purchase, is reviewing the request, agency spokesman David Boyd said. If the agency decides to formally consider the proposal, the public would have a chance to comment, he said.
In Dinosaur, a town of about 350, the Town Council has endorsed the casino. The town’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas, and a casino would bring 300 to 400 jobs in another industry, Mayor Richard Blakley said.
The town is struggling because of the slowdown in oil and gas, Blakley said. “We’re seeing our businesses slowly going away,” he said.
Blakley has asked the nearby town of Rangely for its support. Rangely town manager Peter Brixius said Town Council members are interested but have questions, including whether Moffat County would support it.
Dinosaur is in Moffat County, while Rangely is in Rio Blanco County.
Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe said commissioners had a brief meeting with tribal representatives, but they have not had a chance to consider the proposal.
Information from: The Daily Sentinel, http://www.gjsentinel.com