Interior gives OK to Arizona tribes

Jan 27, 2003 11:25 PM

FROM GT STAFF / WIRE REPORTS

The Interior Department last Friday approved gambling compacts between 17 Arizona tribes and the state.

The decision will allow for an increase in gambling sites under a ballot measure approved last November by Arizona voters. Prop 202 called for additional slot machines and the state’s 22 Indian casinos to install Las Vegas-style house-banked blackjack.

In exchange for the agreement, the tribes will give the state up to eight percent of their gambling revenue.

New Yorkers preferred

Gov. George Pataki won’t negotiate a casino deal with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans because they are an out of state tribe.

"It’s a matter of policy," said Pataki spokesperson Susanne Morris. "It’s the Stockbridge-Munsee of Wisconsin, isn’t it?"

New York tribes like the St. Regis Mohawks, the Oneidas and Cayugas have told Pataki that they don’t want out of state Indians running New York casinos. The Mohawks are planning a casino at Kutsher’s Sports Academy, while the Oneidas and Cayugas may be in the running for two other Catskill casinos allowed by law.

BIA getting tough

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has rejected the Golden Hill Paugussett tribe’s petition for recognition in Connecticut.

The move underscores a turning point at the Bureau, which last month denied the petitions of the Schaghticokes and Paugusetts to build a casino. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are the two state casinos operating on Indian land.

Maine thinking casinos

The Maine voters may get a chance this fall to approve casino gambling for several tribes and decide whether to allow slot machines at harness racing tracks.

Casino gambling activists wheeled 19 boxes of petitions into the State House in Augusta for a press conference announcing the collection of 54,606 signatures from registered voters.