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Hopis Could Reverse Anti-Casino Stance

17 December 2003

ARIZONA – As reported by the Arizona Republic: "The Hopi Tribe of northern Arizona, facing a major economic hit with the likely 2006 shutdown of the Mohave Generating Station, could reverse years of gambling opposition and try to cover its losses with a casino.

"But that would be up to the Hopi people to decide.

"The 12,000-member tribe historically has opposed gambling, rejecting the idea in a 1995 referendum for political, cultural and religious reasons. But a special gambling task force has recommended that tribal gambling be re-examined. The task force was appointed earlier this year by the Tribal Council to examine gambling benefits and opportunities after Arizonans' passage last year of Proposition 202.

"…`This should not be interpreted as a decision by the Hopi Tribe to open a casino,' emphasized spokesman John MacDonald.

"…A task force report projects that a Hopi-owned casino at Winslow, together with a Hopi-run hotel, could produce net annual profit of $8 million to $9 million, drawing visitors from Interstate 40 and other local tourist attractions. The nearest casinos, in Payson, Pinetop and Camp Verde, are all more than 50 miles away…"

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