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Submitted: January 12, 2010

Before SMITH and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges, and KORNMANN,*fn1 District Judge.

The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) and National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) appeal from the district court’s judgment reversing and vacating the NIGC’s decision concluding that the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s (“the Tribe”) five-acre parcel in Carter Lake, Iowa, was eligible for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) as land taken into trust as part of “the restoration of lands for an Indian tribe that is restored to Federal recognition” pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 2719(b)(1)(B)(iii) (“the restored lands exception”). In reaching its decision, the NIGC had concluded that a purported agreement between the Tribe’s attorney and the State of Iowa acknowledging that the parcel was not eligible for gaming under this provision, as documented in a notice published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), was not a relevant factual circumstance in determining whether the restored lands exception applied. The State of Iowa, State of Nebraska, and City of Council Bluffs, Iowa, (collectively, “the States”) appealed to the district court, which reversed the NIGC’s decision as unlawful, arbitrary, and not well-reasoned. On appeal, the DOI and NIGC argue that, once the district court corrected the NIGC’s legal error by holding that the agreement and notice were relevant factual circumstances, it should have remanded the case to the NIGC to allow it to make a new decision based on all relevant factors. We now remand the case to the district court with instructions to remand to the NIGC for reconsideration of its restored lands analysis in accordance with this opinion.

 
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