In California, the administration of Governor Jerry Brown has announced that it has agreed to new casino pacts with three tribes including the operator of the Cache Creek Casino Resort, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
According to a report from The Sacramento Bee newspaper, Thursday’s deals mean that the Democratic governor has recently negotiated the terms of ten tribal casino pacts, which all await legislative ratification as lawmakers attempt to finish their work before the summer recess on August 31.
The newspaper reported that the latest compacts follow a pattern set in recent years whereby the state’s general fund receives less money whereas poorer tribes, local governments and other beneficiaries collect considerably more cash. This new formula follows a decision in the court case brought against the state by the Rincon Band Of Luiseno Indians from San Diego County in 2010 that limits the state’s ability to collect revenues from casino-operating tribes. The western state, which once collected hundreds of millions of dollars under deals negotiated by previous governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is to now receive much less cash for its general fund.
If ratified, the new deal for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation would see the tribe hand over $33 million a year to the state with as little as $6 million going to the general fund. The remainder would be earmarked for the government of Yolo County and other local agencies as well as a trust fund for the benefit of tribes with small casinos or no such venues. Some of the cash would additionally go to fund a newly established aboriginal scholarship initiative and programs for the treatment of gambling addictions.
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation also agreed, for the first time, to a ceiling on the number of slot machines it can operate. The Cache Creek Casino Resort near the community of Brooks currently offers 2,000 slots while the new compact would set the tribal limit at 3,500.
The 78-year-old governor also agreed new deals with the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians, which operates the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, and the tribe behind the Pechanga Resort Casino, the Pechanga Band Of Luiseno Mission Indians. The newspaper reported that these compacts have been designed to end years of bad blood between the tribes and organized labor with Jack Gribbon, Political Director for the Hotel Employees And Restaurant Employees (HERE) Union, declaring that they are fair to both workers and the aboriginal operators.