Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), Jonodev O. Chaudhuri, issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) and immediate Closure Order against the Nooksack Tribe’s gaming operation, the Northwood Casino, in Deming, Washington.
The NOV resulted from a thorough and multi-faceted investigation by the NIGC that identified numerous violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), NIGC regulations and the Nooksack Tribal Gaming Ordinance. The NOV details the violations as:
The Tribe failed to maintain its sole proprietary interest and responsibility for the conduct of any gaming activity.
The Tribe failed to submit the required attestation certifying that the construction and maintenance of the gaming facility adequately protects the environment and public health and safety.
The Tribe failed to maintain and operate the gaming facility in a manner that adequately protects the environment and public health and safety, which is evident in orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing significant deficiencies of the Safe Drinking Water Act that have occurred at six water systems, including the Northwood Casino Water System.
The Tribe failed to perform required licensing actions for members of the Nooksack Business Corporation II (NBCII) who are primary management officials of the Northwood Casino.
“We do not take lightly the issuance of notices of violation and closure orders against tribal gaming operations. We are taking this significant enforcement action only after a complete analysis of the unique circumstances involved, including a full review of the structure of the Tribe’s governing and business bodies. The violations set forth in the Notice compromise the integrity of the Northwood Casino and the gaming industry as a whole, diminish the sole prioprietry interests of the Tribe, threaten the health and safety of the public, and impede the Tribe’s ability to make necessary decisions to administer their operations.” Chaudhuri said.
In order to correct the ongoing violations, the Nooksack Tribe must comply with all licensing requirements, submit the required construction and maintenance attestation, and take corrective action to resolve the EPA violations. The Tribe could face civil penalty violations in the amount of $50,276 for each violation per day of occurrence until corrected.
The full Notice of Violations and Closure Order is available here.