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California approves state casino gambling expansion bill

The Senate of California approved today the largest Indian casino expansion in the state's history. If the bill passes the Assembly, as well, it will allow the Indian tribes to operate over 22,500 more slot machines - an increase of over 50% from the current numbers.

Schwarzenegger approves gamblingThe Gov. Schwarzenegger is counting on the legislature to pass this bill, as it plays a big role in the state's future budget. He backed up the bill, expecting that the Indian tribes will install the new slots within months of passage of the bill and bring over half a billion dollars to cover the state's deficit - a prediction many analysis disagree with.

The compacts with the six Indian casinos (five operational and one to be built) is with a time stamp of 30 years and should contribute billions within that timeframe to the California's budget. The bands in the compacts are: the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and the Yurok Indians.

Similar bill was not approved by the Assembly last year, mainly due to objections from labor groups in the state. Although this bill carries the same labor union protections, it also requires that the tribes should work more closely with the state government to solve future problems resulting from the expansion, such as infrastructure over-load. The future of the bill in Assembly, however, still remains uncertain.

Indian gambling revenue has increased in the past few years to reach over $7 billion annually, making the Indian tribes one of the most influential sides in California politics.


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