Trump/Tribe gaming deal approved
By Paul
The long-awaited approval for the deal between Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts and the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has finally arrived. The approval, from Indian gaming regulators, is the rubber stamp that allows the partnership to become fully operational at Trump 29 Casino near Coachella.

The casino is owned by the tribe, but recently added the Trump brand after completion of the first phase of a $60 million expansion. Trump’s company needed the approval of the National Indian Gaming Council to officially endorse the deal and allow Trump’s management to work at the property.

Without approval, Trump’s employees were forbidden access to the cash cages, being restricted to a “consulting” role at the casino. This led to operational difficulties on the casino floor, according to Mark Brown, president and CEO of Trump Hotels: 'People were waiting an hour to get paid jackpots,' Brown said. 'Our people wanted to jump in and help out ... we couldn’t,' he said.

The joint venture was first announced in March 2000 -- two days after California voters approved Las Vegas-style slot machines and house-banked cards at tribal casinos.

Gene Gambale, the tribe’s general counsel, said, he was not surprised by the approval, which he received in a fax Monday afternoon, despite the lengthy waiting period.

Trump’s status in Atlantic City is proof of the trustworthiness of his company, Gambale said. 'The NIGC conducted a very, very thorough investigation of the Trump management team,' he said

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