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Arizona Casinos Pinch Racing Tracks, Lottery

26 September 2000

ARIZONA – Sept. 26, 2000 – As reported by The Arizona Republic: "Once robust moneymakers, Arizona's horse and dog tracks now post plunging revenues and state lottery sales have flattened out since Indian gaming exploded across Arizona seven years ago.

"Tribes aren't required to reveal how much their casinos ring up. But there is powerful evidence that some casinos - particularly in urban areas - make mountains of cash.

"The result: Millions in lost tax dollars. In 1993 horse and dog tracks pumped $8.5 million into the state's budget. That dropped to $3 million last year. Unlike race tracks, Indian tribes do not pay taxes on gambling profits.

"The tribes and the state are negotiating operating agreements that begin expiring in 2003. In the sensitive talks, Gov. Jane Hull is demanding 7 percent of casino profits. In addition, she insists on lowering the limit on the number of casinos in exchange for boosting the number of machines tribes can have at each site.

"…Clinton Pattea, Fort McDowell president, said that Hull `has not justified her request for a 7 percent cut of their profits."'

"…Horse and dog-track owners say they face unfair competition from Indian tribes who don't pay direct taxes to the state and are the only game in town to offer profitable slot machines.

"Revenues at the state's four dog tracks' live races have plunged to $77 million from $116.3 million from 1993 to 1999. The story is the same at live races at the state's four horse racing tracks, where revenues slid to $46.5 million from $80.6 million in the same time period.

"…Casinos are also crowding the Arizona Lottery.

"State lottery officials introduced the jackpot game, the Pick, last year to buck the national trend of declining sales. Arizona lottery officials aren't sure yet whether the new game will spice up ticket sales.

"But they do know that despite the state's rapid growth, ticket sales have dipped to $255 million in 1999 from $268 million in 1993…"

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