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Bill Would Thwart Louisiana Tribal Casino Plans

17 June 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As reported by the Shreveport Times: " U.S. Sen. David Vitter continued his long opposition to the expansion of gambling in Louisiana by introducing a bill Thursday that would prohibit Indian tribes from building casinos outside their traditional homelands.

"…Vitter's bill could hurt plans by the Jena Band of Choctaws to establish a casino in Louisiana. The Jena Band has tried twice, unsuccessfully, to establish casinos in the state on lands where they had little or no connection -- in Vinton and in Logansport.

"The tribe now is trying to open a casino in Grant Parish, an area where it has historical ties.

"But Vitter, who opposes the Jena Band's plans to open gaming operations anywhere in the state, said other provisions of his bill -- including one that would give states more power to reject proposed Indian gaming operations -- would make it difficult for the tribe to open a casino.

"Louisiana has four federally recognized Indian tribes, including the Jena Choctaws. The legislation would not appear to impact three of those tribes -- Tunica-Biloxi in Marksville, Coushatta in Kinder and Chittimacha in Charenton -- which already operate casinos under compacts, or agreements, with the state.

"Jena Choctaw Chief Christine Norris, band attorney Julie Wilkerson and H.K. Stanley, the financial backer of the band's casino efforts, said Thursday there is nothing Vitter nor Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco can do to stop plans for a casino in Grant Parish…"

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