Rincon Band wins BIA approval for Class III gaming compact

In a first for a California tribe, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians has won federal approval of its Class III gaming compact.

In August 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) negotiated in bad faith by demanding revenue sharing provisions as part of negotiations for a new compact. Talks restarted with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) but the parties failed to reach an agreement under a court-imposed schedule.

That led the tribe to invoke a provision of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that authorizes the federal government to get involved. The Bureau of Indian Affairs on Friday approved the new compact through a "secretarial procedures" process.

“The federal definition of the goal of Indian gaming is to generate revenues to fund tribal government responsibilities and obligations to provide jobs, health care, social and safety services for tribal members, not to pad or fix a state’s budget,” Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti said in a press release. “Someone had to make the state own up to the fact its negotiations with tribes were illegal. It was obvious Gov. Schwarzenegger was not interested in recognizing tribal sovereignty, or voluntarily abiding by laws governing tribal state compact negotiations.

The tribe plans to add 900 slot machines to the Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort as part of a $150 million expansion of the facility.

Get the Story:
Rincon Indians hail limit to California powers over gambling pacts (The Los Angeles Times 2/11)

Relevant Documents:
BIA Decision Letter | Secretarial Procedures for the Rincon Band

9th Circuit Decision:
Rincon Band v. Schwarzenegger (April 20, 2010)

Related Stories
Rincon Band set to break ground on $150M casino expansion (10/30)
California governor negotiating compacts with more tribes (2/1)

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