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Arizona Tracks Challenge Casinos' Legality

12 April 2001

PHOENIX, Arizona –April 12, 2001 –As reported by the Associated Press: " The future of Indian gambling in Arizona is at stake in a lawsuit by three race tracks that contend the state's 15 tribal casinos operate illegally.

"The lawsuit set to begin today asks U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield to prohibit Gov. Jane Hull from renewing the state-tribal compacts that allow Indian casinos. The state and tribes have been negotiating new compacts for more than a year.

"…Neil Wake, attorney for three Phoenix area tracks, said slot machines, keno and poker games at Indian casinos are illegal and divert about $20 million from tracks each year.

"…Wake said unfair competition from Indian casinos put a track in Yuma and another in Tucson out of business.

"The compacts violate the Arizona Constitution by giving tribes monopolies that aren't available to non-Indians, Wake said.

"David LaSarte, executive director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, said tribes are granted compacts because they are sovereign governments, not because of their race.

"…Wake said the tracks aren't pursuing legislation to allow them to operate slots. Though the tracks raised the possibility of getting slots, the statement was made only as a rebuttal to a hypothetical legal argument by the state, Wake said.

"Hull agreed to hold off signing compacts until the case is resolved…"

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