|Indian gaming in Arizona is under threat as the legitimacy of an agreement signed by Governor Jane Hull and 16 Arizona Indian tribes is tested in court.|
The controversy began last year, when a federal judge said Hull did not have the power to sign gambling accords with the tribes in the Legislature’s absence.
U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield nullified the agreements that would allow more slot machines, Las and Las Vegas-style blackjack, with the state getting a cut of the take. The current compacts expire next year and, unless reinstated by the courts, the tribes will have to close down most of their gaming operations.
During 50 minutes of oral arguments, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals suggested the Arizona Supreme Court should decide whether Hull exercised too much power to negotiate Indian gaming compacts.
Attorneys representing the state and the racing industry urged the 9th Circuit to resolve the matter, saying that the issue couldn't be decided by the Arizona Supreme Court before the Indian gaming compacts expire in February.
The tribes, meanwhile, have urged the court to let the negotiated compacts become law.