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Fed Approves Southern California Indian Gaming Compacts

December 19, 2007

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA The U.S. Department of Interior gave final approval to the state agreements with four tribes to expand Indian gaming in Southern California. The department's decisions were published today in the Federal Register.

The agreements, known as compacts, will allow the four tribes to increase the number of slot machines in their casinos from a total of about 8,000 slot machines up to 25,000 machines.

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Palm Spring)
Morongo Band of Mission Indians (Banning)
Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians (Temecula)
Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay (San Diego)

Federal approval comes just weeks before California voters will accept or reject ballot propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 aimed at stopping the gaming expansion. Will the federal approval override the results of the February 5th primary election? Will new slot machines go onto casino floors before election?

Supporters and opponents of the gambling agreements disagree on the impact.

Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro considers his tribe's agreement with governor and confirmed by the state legislature is approved. "Clearly efforts to break these comprehensive agreements are a waste of time and money for the people of California."

However, a spokesman for the No on the Unfair Gambling Deals campaign said the matter is not settled until the voters decide. Sponsors of the opposition includes Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows horse-racing tracks, the United Auburn Indian Community near Sacramento, the Pala Band of Mission Indians in San Diego County, and the UNITE HERE hospitality workers union.

A legal analyst, Professor I. Nelson Rose of Whittier Law School, said the agreements are subject to voter referendums and the Interior Department should not have approved them.

Return to California Casinos.


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