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St. Croix Tribe appeals judge's ruling on casino

Wisconsin's St. Croix Indian tribe has appealed a federal judge's ruling that essentially struck down a new casino in Beloit.

Judge Richard Leon rejected a lawsuit the tribe filed against U.S. Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne almost a year ago.

It said Kempthorne was wrong to create limits on far a casino could be located from the sponsoring tribe's reservation.

The St. Croix said Congress intentionally omitted mileage limits to let more remote tribes have the same gambling opportunities as those in more populated areas.

Technically, the application for the Beloit casino is still pending in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

But the court ruling stops the St. Croix and Bad River tribes from opening the casino because it's too far away under the Interior Department's mileage limits.

St. Croix attorney Joseph Hunt said Judge Leon never gave his side a fair hearing. He says the tribe would like to complete the application process without having the rug pulled out from them.

Hunt said the St. Croix and other tribes have played by the rules and it was not fair for the bureaucracy to change those rules.