BILL SEEKS LIMITS ON INDIAN GAMING

June 20, 2001 8:15 PM
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Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation aimed at curbing the spread of Indian gaming.

Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, an outspoken opponent of legalized gambling's expansion, along with Christopher Shays of Connecticut, and Bob Riley of Alabama, are seeking to amend the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to require that state's approve new casinos on Indian lands.

The bill also would create commissions to advise Congress on national Indian policy and set standards for Indian casinos.

Gaming has sparked a long-running battle between tribal sovereignty and states' right to set public policy. Currently, 196 federally recognized tribes run gambling operations in 29 states, taking in $9.6 billion for tribal governments.

While that sum represents a massive infusion of cash for tribes, which have generally been impoverished, opponents of expanded Indian gaming argue that casinos have enriched a few tribes and their non-Indian development partners while leaving the poorest and most remotely located tribes in the same impoverished state.