Calif., Tribes Agree on Gambling Payments
SACRAMENTO -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed new agreements with five Indian tribes Monday that will allow a major expansion of tribal gambling in exchange for billions of dollars in payments to the state over the next quarter-century.
The deal allows an unlimited increase in the number of slot machines at the Indian tribes' casinos. The current compact, signed by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 1999, limits each tribe to 2,000 machines.
The tribes will pay the state a badly needed $1 billion this year and $150 million to $200 million a year after that until 2030. In return, the tribes receive a guarantee that they will be California's only outlet for casino gambling.
The agreement allows Schwarzenegger to fulfill a campaign promise to make tribes pay a greater share of their casino profits to the state, which has been trying to close multibillion-dollar budget deficits.
Schwarzenegger hopes to have new agreements with as many as a dozen tribes, but not all are receptive to the reworked deals. One tribe, the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, has sponsored a ballot measure that would allow expanded Indian gaming in return for a payment to the state of 8.8 percent of tribal net income. Schwarzenegger is seeking more than that.
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-- From News Services