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Grand Forks casino plans on hold again; Turtle Mountain tribe pursuing casino in ND Oil Patch

GRAND FORKS – Plans for a Grand Forks casino run by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa have been put on hold again.

The idea, which was revived in February after dying out in 2009 and 2005, was for the Turtle Mountain tribe to run an off-reservation casino in Grand Forks to provide revenue for the reservation and boost tourism and entertainment options for the city.

Turtle Mountain Chairman Richard McCloud recently was told by state officials that they would not make exceptions to state law for an off-reservation casino in Grand Forks, he said. A tribal casino operating off a reservation would require approval at several levels, including the governor and the federal Department of the Interior.

After Turtle Mountain leaders halted their efforts, Grand Forks city leaders also dropped the project, for now, said Todd Feland, city administrator.

“If the city of Grand Forks wishes to continue, we will have discussions on the casino in the future,” McCloud said.

McCloud’s other reason for ceasing this year’s efforts for a Grand Forks casino was that Turtle Mountain leaders are working on other projects, including a casino in Trenton, N.D., south of Williston, where the tribe owns land. Being in the Oil Patch, that casino will likely draw business, he said.

The Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, the smallest in the state, is about 85 miles northwest of Devils Lake, near the Canadian border.