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Arbitration Likely on Wisconsin Tribal Casino Pacts

13 June 2005

WISCONSIN – As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The state is preparing to call in arbitrators over its casino negotiations with Wisconsin's two highest-grossing tribes.

"Administration Secretary Marc Marotta said if the state has not reached new compacts with the Forest County Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk Nation by June 30, he would likely ask an arbitrator to settle the matter. June 30 marks the end of the state's fiscal year.

"Those compacts were thrown into disarray last year when the state Supreme Court ruled Gov. Jim Doyle overstepped his authority by signing the Potawatomi agreement because it had no set expiration date and allowed new games, such as craps and roulette. The state and tribes have been negotiating new deals ever since.

"Marotta is pushing the Potawatomi to make a $43.6 million payment due June 30, even if the state and tribe haven't reached a deal by that date. The tribe made its $40.5 million payment last year as a sign that it was engaging in negotiations in good faith.

"Most other tribes followed suit, but the Ho-Chunk declined to make their $30 million payment last year and likely will hold back their payment again this June, Marotta said. Ho-Chunk officials did not return calls for comment but previously have said they are not willing to make the payments until they reach a new deal with the state.

"…An arbitrator could approve either the state or the tribe's offer, or come up with a compromise compact…"

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