California tribes face battle over gaming compacts

SIx California tribes easily won approval for their gaming compacts in the state Senate on Thursday but face a tough fight in the Assembly.

The compacts for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation won near unanimous approval. Some Democrats voted no, citing opposition from labor unions and the expansion the deals would bring -- the five tribes can add up to 22,500 slot machines to their facilities.

A compact for the Yurok Tribe was approved unanimously. The tribe can open its first casino, with just 99 slot machines.

The deals require the tribes to share revenues from the new machines. The state estimates payments of up to $500 million a year.

Critics in the Assembly say the deals don't have enough votes to pass. Democrats want provisions they say will protect the rights of labor unions.

Get the Story:
Big tribes' gambling pacts get swift Senate OK (Copley News Service 4/20)
Senate approves boost in Indian slot machines (The San Francisco Chronicle 4/20)
Senate OKs more slots for tribes (AP 4/20)
Gaming compacts clear the Senate (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 4/20)
Tribes win at Senate level (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 4/20)