BIA approval of California compacts debated

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved controversial Class III gaming compacts for four tribes in California. Now what?

Nobody seems to know for sure. The anti-compact No on the Unfair Gambling Deals says approval was premature because the compacts are being put before voters in February 2008.

The pro-compact Coalition to Protect California's Budget and Economy says none of the tribes plan to install more slot machines until they get the results of the February 2008. That was confirmed by two of the tribes -- the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, whose leaders said they would wait before moving forward.

In a similar case, the BIA approved a Class III compact for the Oneida Nation of New York. Even though the compact was later invalidated by the state courts, the BIA said it would not rescind its approval.

For now, the BIA says it won't publish approval of the compacts in the Federal Register. But Copley News Service reported that the agency is trying to figure out how the compacts got "lost" at the Interior Department between September 7, when they were sent by the state, and November 26, when they arrived at the Office of Indian Gaming Management.

Get the Story:
Interior to delay compacts' final step (Copley News Service 12/4)
Feds approve gambling compacts (The North County Times 12/4)
Tribes look at next steps on added slots (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 12/4)
Gaming compacts that inspired ballot challenges now have federal approval (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 12/4)