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Arizona Tribal Leaders: Gaming Act Fine As Is

27 June 2005

ARIZONA – As reported by the Arizona Republic: "Two Arizona tribal leaders will tell a U.S. Senate committee Tuesday that Congress doesn't need to change the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and that Arizona is a national model for gambling oversight.

"Vivian Juan-Saunders, chairwoman of the Tohono O'odham Nation in southern Arizona, and Dallas Massey Sr., chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe in eastern Arizona, are scheduled to address a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs oversight hearing on Indian gambling regulation.

"The panel is led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has expressed concern about the level of regulatory safeguards and transparency of an industry that generated an estimated $19 billion in revenue last year. He fears there could be a major scandal because of gambling's cash-intensive nature. And he thinks some changes are needed in the gaming act, which was enacted in 1988, when no one envisioned the massive industry that has emerged.

"…'Changing IGRA (the regulatory act) at this point would not be conducive to what we're doing here in our state,' said Juan-Saunders, whose tribe runs three casinos. 'Why penalize the rest of the tribes for a few incidences that occur (elsewhere)?'

"…She plans to tell the Senate committee that the gaming act works fine, as Arizona has demonstrated, and that the three layers of oversight - tribal, state and federal - are more than in commercial casino states such as Nevada. Tribes fund that regulation, amounting to $35 million in Arizona and 567 tribal and state employees, she said…"

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