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Agua Caliente Gambling Deal Rejected

29 August 2006

SACRAMENTO, California – As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune: "In a stunning defeat for one of the state's most powerful Indian tribes, the Assembly last night soundly rejected a lucrative new gambling agreement for the Agua Caliente band of Palm Springs.

"The 33-27 vote – eight short of passage in the 80-member house – came as the Schwarzenegger administration wrapped up negotiations on at least two new agreements allowing further expansion of tribal gambling, according to sources.

"Those compacts, pending legislative approval, would permit the Pechanga band of Temecula and the San Manual tribe of San Bernardino County to operate up to 7,500 slot machines each, people familiar with the pacts said.

"Agua Caliente's new compact stirred a day of intense lobbying by the tribe and organized labor leaders, who put up a stiff fight against the compact they said would not guarantee low-paid casino workers the right to organize.

"…The vote, with most Republicans in support, forced Democrats to choose between two powerful allies – organized labor and gaming tribes. Most Democrats opposed the measure or abstained.

"Agua Caliente's supporters were granted a second chance at passage before the Legislature adjourns for the year Thursday. But the unexpected defeat, by such a wide margin, could spell trouble for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the other big gambling compacts in the pipeline…"

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