Column: Court rules in California's never-ending compact lawsuit

"Leave it to a federal appeals court to cut through the hoo-ha surrounding Indian gaming in California.

Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a ruling in the ongoing — never-ending — dispute between the Colusa Casino tribe and the state.

The tribe disputes the state's formula for determining how many gaming devices — read that as slot machines — the tribe can have. It's been a long battle. The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians joined Colusa in the case.

"Who knew that simple math could be so tricky?" the appeals court began. "The parties to this dispute, the state of California and two California Indian tribes, signed Gaming Compacts intended 'to initiate a new era of tribal-state cooperation' with respect to gaming in the state. Central to the Compacts is a formula to calculate the number of gaming devices California tribes are permitted to license. How to interpret this opaquely drafted and convoluted formula has preoccupied the parties for some time, as the result has significant economic implications. Indeed, math and money have led to a breakdown in the cooperative spirit envisioned by the Compacts."

Opaque and convoluted. Welcome to California."

Get the Story:
Harold Kruger: Off Beat: Rolling the dice on tribal gaming (The Marysville/Yuba City Appeal-Democrat 9/25)