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California Tribal Regulations Raise Concerns

29 October 2004

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the LA Times: "Federal authorities plan to raise concerns with the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians in Santa Barbara County about how the tribe regulates gambling at its casino, one of the most profitable in California.

"Philip Hogen, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, said he was disappointed to learn from a Times report last week that tribal members responsible for regulating the Chumash Casino during the past decade had criminal histories and other problems.

"Hogen said his agency would initiate talks with Chumash leaders regarding the makeup of the tribe's five-member gaming agency as well as possible reforms.

"The Times reported that at least seven current and former Chumash commissioners have backgrounds that almost certainly would disqualify them from working at, much less regulating, casinos in Nevada and New Jersey. Those include convictions for robbery, theft and assault with a deadly weapon.

"…The Chumash Casino, which has 2,000 slot machines and about $200 million in annual revenue, is one of the most profitable gambling enterprises in the state. Like many tribes in California, the Santa Ynez band elects its own members to watch over casino operations…"

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