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Bill Could Cap Tribal Payments

25 March 2004

WASHINGTON – As reported by the Arizona Republic: "A Senate bill could hurt attempts by cash-strapped states to use money from Indian casinos to fill in budget gaps.

"Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., is pushing a measure that would limit or prohibit agreements that require tribes to share gambling revenues with states.

"Campbell, the Senate's only Indian member, said the original intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 was to help pull tribes out of poverty.

"…Twenty-four states have signed gambling compacts with tribes, according to Judy Zelio, a gambling analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven - Arizona, California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin - get some portion of the casino profits, she said.

"…Legally, states cannot tax Indian casinos, said George Skibine, a Bureau of Indian Affairs official. But they can negotiate a revenue-sharing deal in exchange for offering tribes exclusive rights to gambling in geographic regions, he said.

"… Tribes want Congress to stop states from trying to use Indian casinos to pay off state budget deficits…"

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