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Arizona tribe divided over casino plans

11 May 2007

ARIZONA -- As reported by the East Valley Tribune: "At least 250 people packed a Gila River Indian Community meeting hall Wednesday night to voice opposition to the Tribe's plan to build a new casino near Hunt Highway and Gilbert Road beginning this summer.

"In fact, the crowd's size prompted the local fire department to order several people outside to listen on public address speakers set up for the occasion.

"Such is the concern over the planned casino that Tribal leaders say is needed to better capitalize on Indian gaming. Critics say the project will just interfere with their current way of life.

"...A show of hands early in the meeting indicated the majority of the crowd was opposed to plans for moving Gila River's Lone Butte Casino, currently on 56th Street, south of Pecos Road, to the west side of Gilbert Road about a quarter-mile south of Hunt Highway.

"Many of the Community members Wednesday said they've been waiting for many years for irrigation water gained in the Arizona Water Settlements Act enacted in 2004 that will provide nearly free reclaimed water to Gila River farmers.

"...But to Tribal officials who first gave the go-ahead for relocating a casino almost three years ago, the project means much-needed economic development for the Community..."

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