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State senate approves bill to double number of slots

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May 24, 2008

SACRAMENTO - The senate voted 25-5 last week to approve the bill to increase the number of slot machine licenses in California from about 62,000 to 122,000. Senate Bill 1201 was written by Sen. Jim Battin, R-Palm Desert, to remove the statewide cap of 60,000 slots and grant each tribe up to 2,000 slot machines.

There were 61 Indian gaming compacts negotiated in 1999 to guarantee a minimum of 350 slots per tribe and up to 2,000 if available under the statewide cap. However, the compacts were poorly written and the cap has been interpreted to be as low as 45,000 machines and as high as 113,000.

"It's a truth-in-advertising measure," said Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula. "The tribes were promised 2,000 machines in their compacts."

Although Gov. Schwarzenegger has not announced a position on the bill, he is expected to veto it since it would weaken his negotiating position with tribes.

The bill is now in the Assembly.

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