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Rincon Band Becomes First California Tribe To Renegotiate Tribal-State Gaming Compact With Federal

After seven years of litigation and negotiations, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians has renegotiated its 1999 tribal-state gaming compact. The tribe took an unorthodox route to gain approval, setting a legal and political precedent by obtaining the first California agreement negotiated through the federal courts.Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, approved the secretarial procedures on February 8.

With the Rincon victory in the courts, the state was forced to end a number of illegal practices related to negotiating tribal state casino compacts and directed by the Southern District Federal Court to meet with the Rincon Band to negotiate a compact that complied with federal law.

The Rincon Band and California Governor Edmund G. Brown began negotiations in earnest over a year ago, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state’s appeal of the 2004 Rincon vs. Schwarzenegger lawsuit. The parties reached agreement on the vast majority of issues within the limited time frame set by law and the court. However, some issues remained unresolved at the expiration of the court-ordered deadlines.

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