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Arizona Tribe Faces Vote On Sharing Casino Profits

15 August 2000

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Aug. 15, 2000 – As reported by The Associated Press: "Verland French has no illusions that anyone will be getting rich if his tribe votes next month to start sharing casino profits with its individual members.

"…He does believe it will provide relief within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, giving members a chance to get the things they need for their families.

"…Tribal members will vote Sept. 5 on whether to distribute 35 percent of the profits from the tribes' Casino Arizona to individual members. Right now, casino profits go to the tribe's general budget.

"The public vote follows petition drives, meetings and an offer by the Tribal Council to make $1,000 annual payments to members. It also ups the ante from a previous demand by dissidents for a 25 percent split of the profits from the casinos east of Scottsdale.

"Some tribal members estimate the casinos bring in about $600 million a year, but the tribe has never released financial figures and isn't required to do so under state or federal laws. If the figure is accurate, each of the 6,200 members would get about $34,000 annually.

"…Tribal President Ivan Makil is opposed to sharing casino profits with members, but, like Fort McDowell officials, wants better homes, water systems, health care and other social services on the reservation. Makil has said the 35 percent payout formula would take too much of the money needed for community improvements."

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