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Alaska tribe withdraws appeal

21 August 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- As reported by the Tulsa World: "An Alaska tribe withdrew its official appeal Wednesday on an Indian gambling matter that some had warned eventually could have a devastating economic impact in Oklahoma.

"That did not end the controversy, however, as sharply different interpretations of the action's legal impact quickly emerged.

"David Qualls, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, said the Metlakatla Indian Community's decision to withdraw its appeal essentially killed the entire matter.

"...Philip Hogen, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, disagreed with Qualls' interpretation.

"Hogen said his decision to reject authorization of "'one-touch' electronic bingo machines, which had been appealed by the Alaska tribe, now stands as the most current action coming from the National Indian Gaming Commission.

"...Joseph Webster, an attorney for the Alaska tribe, said Hogen's previous decision on the tribe's proposed amendment to its gambling ordinance is not a decision by the full commission and has no impact on any other tribe.

"...At issue is the whether a so-called bright line needs to be drawn between Class II gambling devices, essentially bingo and similar games, and Class III devices such as slots, which can be operated only under a tribal-state compact..."

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