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RANGELY | The mayor of Dinosaur, Colo., and several representatives from the Ute Tribal Council came before the Rangely board of trustees Dec. 13 seeking support for a proposed casino to be built in the Dinosaur area.
Rumors have been flying, with some reports saying the casino will open April 1. Those rumors are false.
“It’s still on the ground, nothing is set in stone,” said White River Band Rep. Ron Wopsock. “We’re trying to create economic development for Dinosaur and Rangely and our people at home. Basically we’ve been just an oil and gas tribe for more than 75 years. We have an abundance of water, minerals, etc., but oil and gas is all we’ve ever done. Now we’re looking at making at attempt to establish a casino.”
The Tribe approached Dinosaur and Hayden several years ago, but the governor’s office “knocked that down” out of concerns about ownership of the land, according to tribal attorney Thomasina Real Bird.
In this attempt, the tribe would purchase land from BLM for the casino site. That land then has to be approved by the Department of the Interior as a trust site, then the Indian Gaming Association would have to approve the site for a casino.
“The land would go into trust status,” Real Bird explained. “It would then become part of the reservation.” The Uncompahgre portion of the reservation abuts the Colorado border and would be extended to encompass the additional property. Utah doesn’t permit gaming.
Real Bird said the casino is predicted to bring 405 jobs total to the area.
“We would expect to draw from the surrounding communities,” she said.
The Tribal Council and the Town of Dinosaur were seeking support for the proposed casino from the Town of Rangely.
“We would expect the benefits to be experienced here,” Real Bird said.
The nearest tribally-owned casino is located four miles northwest of Lander, Wyo., operated by the East Shoshone Tribe on the Wind River Reservation.