In California, the new gaming compact recently agreed between Governor Jerry Brown and the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians could see the tribe permitted to operate up to six casinos in the western state.
According to a report from The Desert Sun newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe signed the deal replacing its current 1999 compact on Thursday and will now wait for the agreement to be ratified by the state legislature, which is due to end its current session at the end of the month.
The Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians already operates the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage’s Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa while the approval of the new compact would allow the tribe to open four additional venues and operate a maximum of 5,000 gaming devices such as slots and skill-based video poker machines.
In addition, the newspaper reported that the agreed compact would additionally give the tribe the ability to open off-reservation gaming facilities in the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage as well as on unincorporated Riverside County land lying between the squares of its checker-board-shaped preserve. To take advantage of this opportunity, the plots would have to be placed into trust by the Department Of The Interior for use by the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians.
“The [Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians’] unique “checker-board” reservation has limited the tribe’s ability to fully develop its gaming operations and the state recognizes that the tribe and the surrounding local communities will benefit from economic development and accompanying job creation if the tribe is able to develop gaming facilities on certain parcels of land that are contiguous to the tribe’s current reservation boundaries,” reads the compact.
A statement from the governor’s office declared that such off-reservation gambling would create “a framework within which the tribe can make significant investments that will generate jobs and stimulate additional economic growth in each of those communities”.
The deal will moreover see the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians permitted to keep a larger portion of its casino revenues although collected funds will still go to the state-managed Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, which uses such cash to support tribes that do not operate casinos. The agreed compact would lower the tax rate on the tribe’s first 2,500 gaming devices from 13% to 6% while this percentage would rise to 11% after the 4,500 machine.
For the first time, the state additionally intends to credit back to the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians as much as 60% of any funds collected for use on capital or economic development projects designed to benefit the tribe and its surrounding communities. These monies could moreover be utilized to honor any existing agreements the tribe holds with nearby cities or Riverside County.
“This compact now allows the tribe to reallocate a large portion of the compact payments that previously went directly to the state and instead direct those funds to a wide variety of economic development and infrastructure projects for various purposes in the Coachella Valley that mutually benefit the tribe and surrounding communities,” read a statement from Jeff Grubbe, Tribal Council Chairman for the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians.