States Tapping Tribes
By earl
Patricia Lopez and Dane Smith in the Star Tribune report that state governors and legislators are more and more looking with “an envious eye on an industry that is more profitable than ever: Indian gambling.” State budget deficits are at an all time high, with some states, most notably California, in what can only be called real trouble.

In Minnesota, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is researching the possibility of “recasting” the agreement made with the state’s tribes in 1989. In Wisconsin, Democrat Governor Jim Doyle last year signed a bill granting his state’s tribes the right to host high-stakes games such as roulette, baccarat and poker. The Wisconsin state government in return got “more than $200 million over two years,” the Star Tribune reported. Governor Doyle also “loosened rules that may permit the conversion of truck stops into ‘mini-casinos.’ ”

Republican Governor George Pataki in New York was accused last month by leaders of the state’s Oneida Indian Nation of conducting a “shakedown” on tribal g-revenues. Pataki “wants the state to get 25 percent of the profits from the tribe's lucrative Turning Stone Casino,” something New York's Mohawk tribe has already agreed to give from their earnings from slot machines. The Oneidas maintain that Pataki is trying to up the state’s cut through a term in their agreement which has been newly introduced by the governor, after New York’s arrangement with the Oneidas had already reached an understanding.

In California, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will try to “renegotiate tribal gambling compacts,” which Arizona and Connecticut have done already.

Can the full and clear legalization of Internet gambling in the USA be far off, given the kind of money the states are desperate to get from somewhere?

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