Pauma Band wins decision in Class III gaming compact suit

The Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians of California doesn't have to follow a Class III gaming compact that included a high revenue sharing rate, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

The Pauma Band signed a compact in 1999 that authorized a certain number of gaming machines out of a pool for all gaming tribes. When the tribe tried to add more machines to the Casino Pauma, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) insisted on a new agreement in 2004.

However, Schwarzenegger withheld key information from the tribe, Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo determined. There were in fact enough machines in the pool for the casino, she said.

"The 1999 compact provided Pauma with the opportunity to conduct class III gaming by giving it access to the pool of 40,201 licenses," Bencivengo wrote in the 31-page decision. "The State deprived Pauma of this important access through misrepresentations that the pool was empty when it was not."

The tribe was paying $315,000 a year to the state under the 1999 compact. The payment rose to $7.75 million a year under the 2004 deal so the decision could save the tribe upwards of $100 million.

Bencivengo scheduled a hearing for April 30 to determine whether the tribe is owed a credit for payments made under the now-rescinded 2004 compact.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Pauma Band v. California.

Get the Story:
Judge rescinds Calif. Indian tribe's casino deal (AP 3/20)
CASINOS: Pauma hits the jackpot with victory over state (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 3/21)

Also Today:
Patrick Sullivan: Tribal Gaming Revenue Sharing in California (The National Law Review 3/20)

District Court Decision:
Pauma Band v. California (March 18, 2013)

Related Stories
Pauma Band awaits final ruling in gaming compact case (4/19)

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