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Analyst: Tribes Face Long Battle for Pennsylvania Casino

12 August 2003

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – As reported by the Associated Press: “Anyone putting money on Pennsylvania's gambling future should shy away from betting that an Indian casino will land here anytime soon, analysts say.

“With Gov. Ed Rendell's opposition, analysts agree that a quest by the Delaware Tribe of Indians of Bartlesville, Okla., and the Delaware Nation of Anadarko, Okla., to open a casino in Pennsylvania could be forced down a very long and costly road.

“…Gambling opponents have warned that expanding gambling to slot machines would, under federal law, open the door to a casino by the Delawares, who announced an intention in May to claim 315 acres in Northampton County, among other sites.

“…For now, there is no precedent for a tribe based in one state to win a land claim in a second state and build a casino there, analysts say.

“…Winning a land claim could take years - if not a decade or more - and often involves seeking the federal government's help in suing a state that opposes the casino, analysts say. The tribes would have to prove that land was once tribally owned and that it was transferred without federal approval, making it an illegal transfer.

“…If the tribes win the land claim in court, they could force an exchange of the parcel in question for unoccupied land elsewhere to avoid dispossessing residents or businesses, as they say their ancestors were dispossessed more than two centuries ago.

“…Then, the tribes would have to negotiate a gambling compact with the state. Should the state oppose such a compact, it could drag down the process and force the U.S. Department of Interior to step in to negotiate the pact…”

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