Governor Newsom Says Federal Denial of Two Gambling Pacts Threatens Tribal Economies | California
(The Center Square) – Governor Gavin Newsom reacted on Monday to a decision by the US Department of the Interior to disapprove of Class III gaming pacts with two tribes, warning that it could impact the tribes’ ability to maintain jobs and investments in their communities.
According to Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations. California has ratified gaming pacts with 75 tribes, and there are currently 66 casinos operated by 63 tribes, according to the California Gaming Control Commission.
Class III gaming activities are permitted as long as an ordinance or resolution is passed by the governing body of the tribe and approved by the chairman of the Indian National Gaming Commission as per the Indian Gaming Regulation Act . The game must also take place in a state that permits it and must be “conducted pursuant to a tribal state compact between the Indian tribe and the state”.
This is the second time the Department of the Interior has disapproved of the compacts with the Santa Rosa Indian community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria and the Middletown Rancheria of the Pomo Indians — the first time in November 2021. In March, Newsom’s office announced a compact agreement with the two tribes with the intention of “supporting tribal government investment” in law enforcement, public transportation, housing and other infrastructure needs.
In a statement on Monday, Newsom said the pacts were “carefully negotiated by the state and the tribes in accordance with Indian gaming regulation law” to give the tribes the “economic benefits of gambling while mitigating the impacts on local communities”. The agreement came on top of existing covenants signed between the tribes and the state in 1999, according to Yogonet.
“The disapprovals threaten the ability of these tribes and others to invest and maintain jobs in many economically disadvantaged communities in California,” Newsom said.
The pacts were frowned upon because they violated parts of Indian gambling regulation law, Home Office press secretary Tyler Cherry told The Center Square in an email.
According to compact letters of disapproval sent to the tribes and the state, the two tribes have developed a “casino resort complex” – meaning they have developed restaurants and hotels that operate beyond the spaces of games regulated by the Tribe’s Gaming Commission. Concerned about several definitions contained in the covenants, the department wrote that “the 2022 covenant grants broad powers to state and local governments to regulate tribal activities and lands not directly related to the actual conduct of the games”.
The chiefs of the tribes involved in the pacts expressed their disappointment with the decision of the Ministry of Interior.
Leo Sisco, president of the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, said the disapproval means the tribe will not have resources for the Tachi Palace Casino “which would have created new high-paying jobs and benefited a struggling local economy.” .
“Our pact, which enjoys broad support from local and state authorities, has been key to improving housing, health care and economic self-sufficiency for our tribe,” Sisco said in a statement. a statement. “The chilling effect this decision will have on Indian Country is immeasurable and the financial cost to our tribe will be irreparable.”
Jose “Moke” Simon, president of Middletown Rancheria, called the disapproval “shocking,” saying in a statement that “the way forward is now paved with stones that will make it difficult to navigate our tribe’s future.” The Middletown Rancheria of the Pomo Indians currently operates the Twin Pine Casino and Hotel.
In an email, the governor’s office told The Center Square that it “will work with the tribes to determine next steps.”