California Deepens Ties With 6 New Tribal Gaming Compacts

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed new gaming compacts with six local Tribes.
  • The compacts are focused on revenue sharing while respecting Tribal sovereignty.
  • In exchange, many of the Tribes will receive funding and support for Tribal government functions.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed new gaming compacts with several Native American Tribes in CA.

Newsom signed compacts with the following tribes:

  • Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
  • Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
  • Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians
  • Resighini Rancheria
  • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
  • Table Mountain Rancheria

Newsom’s statement on the matter casts the new compacts as a matter of reinforcing the relationship between the Tribes and the California government while respecting the revenue flow generated by gaming in California.

The compacts each have different terms. For example, the compact with the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians allows them to expand their casino by operating up to 3,500 gaming devices.

Compacts Supporting Tribal Investment

Per Newsom, the focus is twofold when negotiating these compacts.

“The compacts support tribal investment in expanded tribal government services, local jurisdictions and non-profit and civic organizations for improved fire and emergency medical services, law enforcement, low-income housing, public transit, education, environmental protection and other public service and infrastructure improvements,” the statement reads. “The compacts reflect a commitment by the tribes to revenue sharing with non-gaming and limited gaming tribes through the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and the Tribal Nation Grant Fund so that the economic benefits of gaming extend to all tribal governments in California.”

Again using the Chukchansi casino agreement as an example, there are provisions that require support to other tribes who are not in such an advantageous position, within the bounds of tribal sovereignty.

Expanding Gaming While Maintaining Sovereignty

Chukchansi Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales seemed to put a serious emphasis on sovereignty in discussing the negotiation process.

“Throughout the negotiations the Tribal Council worked tirelessly to protect our sovereignty, and this new compact will provide for the expansion of our gaming business,” Gonzales said. “After years of tough negotiations, we reached an agreement that will ensure Chukchansi Gold remains the premier gaming resort in the region.”

These compacts now must be approved by the California State Legislature, and then by the United States Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs Bureau. Assuming they are passed by the legislature, the Indian Affairs Bureau will have 45 days to make a final ruling on them before they become permanent.

The Bureau can either approve or deny them, and a refusal to act is interpreted as tacit approval, as seen with Florida’s expansion of betting earlier in 2021.

Online gambling fans should keep an eye on this situation, as California’s ties to Tribal gambling deepen statewide.