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Alberta Rejects U.S.-Style Native Casinos

28 October 2001

ALBERTA, Canada – Oct. 28, 2001 – As reported by the Calgary Herald: "Alberta may become home to `destination' First Nations casinos with hotels and entertainment facilities, but massive complexes similar to those on some United States reserves won't happen, says the province's gaming minister.

"Ron Stevens said American casino operators -- used to huge money available from gaming houses on U.S. reserves -- will be disappointed if they come looking to exploit the comparatively limited profits available in Alberta.

"`To put this in perspective, at this point in time we have something in the order of 4,300 slot machines now existing in our 16 casinos and two racing entertainment centres,' Stevens said of the Alberta situation.

"…How profits are split is vastly different under the American and Alberta models.

"The province follows the charitable casino model for both existing casinos, and any that may be built on reserves.

"Under Alberta's First Nations gaming policy, 15 per cent of slot machine proceeds goes to the casino operator, whether it's the band or an agency contracted from outside, 15 per cent goes to the band for charitable works, and 70 per cent goes to the province.

"…Proceeds from any table games are split between the operator and charities.

"…In California, the state government doesn't profit directly from gaming on reserves, said Kim Glassman, chief of staff for Republican state Senator Jim Battin.

"…Glassman said reserves with gaming operations are also good neighbours, generously contributing to nearby communities in areas such as social programs and community works.

"However, the bottom line is the prime beneficiaries of the multibillion-dollar First Nations gaming industry in the U.S. are band members whose land is home to a casino, and outside operators who are generally contracted to come in and set up shop…"

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