First Nations will cash in after Casino Rama court decision

Create: 12/01/2015 - 19:40

Chippewas of Rama First Nation ‘crapped out’ in their Supreme Court of Canada appeal of the 35 per cent Casino Rama revenue case, rolling snake eyes instead of lucky seven.
The court ruled against Rama July 8, exhausting the final appeals of the community which hosts Casino Rama on its land.
The case stemmed from Rama’s belief it had a deal with the province of Ontario to receive 35 per cent of casino revenues in perpetuity after establishing the casino in 1996.
Afterwards, all funds were to be distributed under the 50-40-10 formula established in 1998.
The breakdown includes 50 per cent distributed according to the population of the community; 40 per cent distributed equally among all communities; and 10 per cent set aside for distribution to listed remote communities.
Representing Ontario’s remaining 133 First Nations, Chiefs of Ontario argued Rama was only entitled to that percentage from 1996 to 2001 then all the funds should be divided among all the communities.
Millions of dollars were at stake for the non-host communities, explained Constance Lake Chief Arthur Moore, who attended the Supreme Court sessions.
Those funds have been held in an escrow account since 2001.
At the time of Rama’s 2008 appeal, the account held more than $130 million.
Ontario’s chiefs and proxies gathered in Winnipeg July 21 to discuss the case.
They needed a resolution in order to begin the process of having the funds released, Moore said.
The Ontario Lottery Gaming Corp. has 60 days to release the funds though Moore expects it will happen sooner.
He expects Constance Lake to receive about $1 million from the escrow funds.
While he’s unsure how it will be used, it will be welcome in the community.
Options include using it for capital projects or financing for joint ventures.
A third option would be to serve as collateral for financing a larger project, Moore explained.