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Judge sides with California tribes

2 May 2008

CALIFORNIA -- As reported by the North County Times: "A San Diego federal judge has ruled that California's attempt to have a local Indian gaming tribe ante up money in exchange for more slot machines amounted to an illegal tax.

"The finding from U.S. Magistrate Judge William McCurine, Jr., who said the state negotiated with Rincon Band of Mission Indians "in bad faith," essentially handed a victory to the Valley Center tribe.

"Rincon had argued that federal law allows the state to collect fees from the tribes for specific uses ---- to help offset gambling-related problems or pay for the impact the casino has on area traffic ---- but not to help balance the state budget.

"And in a ruling made public on Wednesday, McCurine agreed.

"...Rincon, which has 1,600 slot machines, was negotiating with the state to add as many as 900 slot machines to its Harrah's Rincon Casino and Resort when it sued the state four years ago.

"The tribe turned to the courts after balking at California's practice of requiring tribes to pay fees into the state's general fund in exchange for the new machines..."

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