|In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has formed new agreements with Indian tribes within the state regarding expansion of their gambling sites. The agreements have been signed with five tribes, and now allow unlimited increases in the number of slot machines available in their land-based casinos.|
Prior to this agreement there was an upper limit for each tribe of 2000 machines. This set maximum being abolished has been negotiated in exchange for financial recompense paid to the government by each tribe. One of Governor Schwarzenegger’s election promises was to arrange greater payments of casino profits by tribes, as part of an effort to address the state’s large budget deficits. This new agreement demands the tribes contribute US$1billion this year to the government, and then US$250 million every year after that until 2030.
Although this new agreement has been reached with five of the state’s tribes, Schwarzenegger’s ultimate goal is to achieve similar deals with around twelve tribes. Currently however, this does not look straightforward, as there are tribes who are resistant to such amendments to current procedures. Two tribes are presently sponsoring ballot measures as a way for trying to negotiate their own terms. One tribe, the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is proposing an expansion in Indian gaming in return for contributions to the state of 8.8percent of tribal net income. Another proposal is that tribes will pay 25 percent tax, on the condition that card rooms and racetracks would also be allowed to operate slot machines. Governor Schwarzenegger is unhappy with both of these options, so there is more negotiating to be done, before his goal of co-operation with twelve tribes can be achieved.