CHEROKEE COUNTY, Okla. - The Keetoowah Casino in Tahlequah will stay open after a last-minute federal decision to place the two-acre property into trust.
The Department of the Interior approved the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians' amended trust application Monday, less than 48 hours before the casino was set to shut down gaming operations.
The federal approval came after a National Indian Gaming Commission 2011 ruling declaring the casino was not on Indian land. Under state law, casinos on non-Indian land are illegal.
The casino was built in 1986.
An agreement between the band and the state of Oklahoma in June required they pay $2 million in damages, along with securing trust status by the end of July.