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Arizona Tribes Maybe First Payment

25 July 2003

ARIZONA – As reported by the Arizona Republic: “Today is payday for the state, courtesy of its Indian casinos.

“Gambling tribes today make their first quarterly revenue-sharing payment to the state under the framework of Proposition 202, which voters narrowly passed last fall. The measure allowed tribes to add slot machines and launch Nevada-style blackjack in return for sharing some of their casino winnings with the state.

“State and tribal officials, however, are warning against high expectations in the first payment, the size of which the state is expected to reveal next week. The state will release a total figure. Each casino's individual payment is being kept confidential.Using a complicated formula, the state is expected to begin disbursing 88 percent of proceeds quickly to state schools, tourism promotion, trauma and emergency services, wildlife conservation, state gambling regulation and problem-gambling assistance. Tribes will give 12 percent to cities, towns and counties of their choosing, either directly or through the state.

“…The state projects receiving $54 million for the fiscal year that started July 1 and $86 million the following year. Annual payments are then expected to hover around $89 million to $102 million.

“Today's payment, though, is expected to be far less than a quarter of the first annual contribution.

“The reasons are several: The percentage of revenues paid will increase later in the year as revenues accumulate; not all tribes were operating under the new Proposition 202 agreement on April 1, when they began reserving state funds; and tribes are still ramping up the additional games and facilities that will produce more money for them and the state. Accounting is further complicated by differences between state and tribal fiscal years, the latter of which guides payment timing…”

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