Internet promotion ruled illegal

Aug 16, 2005 6:27 AM

The Connecticut Division of Special Revenue has ruled that an Internet promotion offered by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is illegal, the Associated Press reported. The state said the tribe’s "PlayAway" game violated state and federal laws. The promotion allowed people to buy keno tickets at the casino and then go online to determine whether they won a prize.

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Federal lawmakers continue to oppose tribes looking for real estate closer to major urban areas. U.S. Rep. Frank Wolfe (R-Va.) has proposed a moratorium on all "off-reservation" tribal gambling proposals, and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, recently warned that off-reservation expansion could trigger a "backlash" against Indian gaming.

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Meanwhile, tribal leaders of Connecticut’s Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun gambling resorts, some of the largest casinos in the world, are keeping an eye on Washington, D.C. Leaders have been looking to expand into California, Washington and Wisconsin, in partnership with other tribes. Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegan tribe’s chief of staff, said, "We are watching the legislation closely and we are hoping that there is some balance," The Boston Herald reported.

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The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho Tribe can offer the "full gamut" of Class III games. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (R) said the state "missed the boat" on Indian gaming because of its opposition to the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and will now have to wait until the Interior Department issues gaming rules.

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The Miami Herald reported that lobbyists for the Seminole Tribe and other gaming interests paid for the 11th annual tribute dinner to Florida Sen. Jim King (R). The Seminole Tribe is negotiating a Class III gaming compact with Gov. Jeb Bush (R). Three state senators who are drafting slot machine legislation for Broward County were among the attendees. Lobbyists said there was nothing unusual about sponsoring the dinner and that the legislation was never discussed.

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Last week’s opening of the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria’s Bear River Casino drew hundreds of patrons, some waiting in line as long as two hours to get into the new casino, according to The Eureka Reporter. But local residents have petitioned The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, saying that gambling, alcohol, and the 24-hour-a-day traffic will cause problems and increase auto accidents.

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Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. vetoed an agreement giving the Hogback Chapter a portion of the revenues from a proposed casino. The Navajo Nation Council approved the deal, and while Shirley supports gaming on the reservation, he said the agreement didn’t clearly spell out how the profits from a Hogback casino would be distributed.

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President Joe Shirley Jr. toured possible casino sites on the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico, The Farmington Daily Times reported. Gambling is outlawed on the Navajo reservation except for six proposed sites and at a satellite reservation near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The tribe has signed a compact with New Mexico for a casino near Albuquerque.

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The legality of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma’s new Million Dollar Elm Casino, which opened last week, is cleared. A letter from the National Indian Gaming Commission’s top attorney stated that the tribe can operate a casino on the land, even though it is not held in trust, because the land is located within the boundaries of a reservation that has never been disestablished.

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The St. Croix Chippewa and Bad River Chippewa bands have prepared a study showing that an off-reservation casino in Wisconsin won’t hurt other gaming facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois. The tribes say their casino in Beloit will not draw customers away from two tribal casinos in Wisconsin and non-Indian facilities in Illinois.

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The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and its investors have scaled back their plans for the Greektown Casino in Detroit. The tribe, which owns 90 percent of Greektown Casino, originally envisioned a $450-million casino and 400-room hotel. The plan now calls for a $200 million permanent facility.

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Oklahoma tribes are developing programs to prevent gambling addictions. Brian Foster, the chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, said tribes are concerned about the problem because most of their customers are local. The state has about 78 casinos, plus horse racing and a lottery, but only 16 Gamblers Anonymous meetings per week statewide, The Oklahoman reported.

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Don Siegelman, a former governor of Alabama, says the state should negotiate a Class III compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as long as the tribe is willing to share revenues. "Indian casinos ought to be taxed like everybody else," Siegelman said, as reported in The Montgomery Advertiser.