NEW YORK, Jun 19, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — On June 18, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that David Patchak, an individual, has standing and can file suit against the government’s decision to take land into trust on behalf of a Native American tribe. The court offered no conclusions regarding the merits of Patchak’s case; it simply allows the case to proceed in the lower courts. Fitch believes this ruling has several key credit implications for the gaming sector:
–It is likely to result in increased challenges from anti-gaming interests regarding land-into-trust decisions for tribes, as it lengthens the statute of limitations on judicial review to six years from 30 days;
–Raising capital for Native American casino projects could become more difficult/expensive, as investors are likely to have heightened concern about potential challenges regarding land-into-trust decisions;
–Casino operators that face the possibility of increased competition from potential casino projects tied to land-into-trust decisions could benefit from a longer regulatory process.