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Gov. Schwarzenegger Approves Gaming Compact for Mono Indian Tribe Casino Facility

On April 28th, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger finalized a deal that will give permission to an Indian tribe to construct a casino facility in the Central Valley, in exchange for giving some of its profits to a poor Northern California Indian tribe who has given up the opportunity to construct their own gambling facility.

The North Fork Rancheria tribe of Mono Indian plans to build a casino facility worth $250 million on a land near Highway 99, a heavily traveled area, which is situated just north of the city of Madera. Because the land is situated about thirty-five miles from the American Indian Tribe's original reservation in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, they need the approval of the U.S. Department of Interior for the land purchase before they can construct the hotel and casino facility.

The agreement also requires the go signal from the state legislature to be finalized. Under the terms of the agreement, the Mono tribe will give five million dollars annually from its 2,500 slot machines to the Wiyot tribe, whose tribal lands are located in Humboldt County. In exchange for the five million dollars, the 600 Wiyot Tribe citizens promised not to construct a casino on their own rancheria, which can be found near the ecologically important Humboldt Bay.

Officials from both tribes said that the casino facility will help ease the economic situation of the tribe and offer 1,500 permanent employment opportunities. The Board of Supervisors of Madera County and the City of Madera both supported the idea when it was proposed three years ago. But there are some residents and lawmakers that are still opposed to the casino idea because of the environmental and social problems it can bring.

Senator Dean Florez, a Democrat from Shafter, opposes the idea and recently endorsed a proposal that would prohibit the Governor from negotiating a gaming compact until the tribe actually owns a land on the area where they want to build a casino facility. Governor Schwarzenegger predicts that casino will contribute $25 million dollars which will come from slot machines and casino card games during the first seven years of its opening to the general fund of the state


20 May 2008
News Submitted by:
Lauren Desmond

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