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Arizona Indian Casino Plan Approved By Senate

7 May 2002

PHOENIX, Arizona – As reported by the Associated Press: "The Senate on Monday approved a plan that could extend casino operations on Indian reservations for up to 29 years, but the proposal failed to get enough votes to protect it from a possible referendum election.

"Senators approved the bill (SB1001) by a 19-8 margin, one vote short of the two-thirds super majority needed to enact an emergency clause that would give it ballot protection and put it into effect immediately upon Gov. Jane Hull's signature.

"…The plan is the outline of an agreement among Hull and the tribes that would put more slot machines into play and allow Las Vegas-style blackjack. The state would have regulatory authority over casino operations and receive up to 8 percent of the profits. The deal would last for up to 29 years.

"Opponents have criticized the length of the agreement, access to automated teller machines at casinos and the tribes' ability to withhold from the public how much they make from gambling. They have tried to slow down action on the bill, which has led the tribes to start work on a ballot initiative as a backup plan in case the bill does not win approval.

"The bill now moves to the House for consideration, but representatives may not begin their deliberations until they finish work on the state's budget. Hull's gambling adviser, Mike Bielecki, said he hopes to draw a two-thirds majority in the House and add friendly amendments clarifying profit disclosure and the amount of time available for renewal negotiations, which could shorten the deal to 23 years…"

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