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Tribal Casinos Win State Licenses For More Casino Slots

Some California Indian tribes hit the jackpot today Monday.

They’re getting state licenses for up to 10,000 additional casino slot machines under a new court ruling.

The Colusa Indian Casino near Sacramento, the Rincon band of Luiseno Indians near San Bernardino and the San Pasqual outside of San Diego filed suit seeking the licenses. They say some tribes didn’t get as many slot machines as they were promised in gaming compacts they signed with Governor Gray Davis in 1999. And, now a Federal Appeals Court ruled in their favor. Jerome Encinas, who is with the California Nation’s Indian Gaming Association, said it’s a win-win situation for the tribes and the state because they share the gaming revenues.

"There’s a big percentage that the tribes that have compacted with the state pay into the state," said Encinas. "They pay into the general fund. And, so by being able to allow them to operate more slot machines is going to bring in more money into the general fund, it’s just basic math.”

Governor Schwarzenegger has re-negotiated gaming compacts with a few larger tribes. He allowed them to have more than the state’s cap of 2,000 slots in exchange for giving California a bigger share of their revenues. Still, the governor’s office says it will continue to appeal the ruling and that the tribes that filed suit will have to remove their new slots if the state’s case is successful.