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Judge rescinds Calif. Indian tribe's casino deal

Federal judge rescinds San Diego County Indian tribe's gaming compact, saving tribe $100M

Associated Press

PAUMA VALLEY, Calif. (AP) -- A San Diego County Indian tribe says a federal court decision to rescind a gambling compact will save it nearly $100 million in either returned payments to the state or future costs.

The U.S. District Court decision Monday allows the Pauma Band of Mission Indians to return to its original agreement with the California Gambling Control Commission in 2000.

The Paumas stated in their complaint that the state mistakenly informed the tribe — through an erroneous calculation — that there were no more available gambling licenses under the previous compact.

This was especially problematic for the tribe because it had made a deal with Park Place Entertainment, which is now known as Caesars Entertainment Inc., to develop and manage a Caesars casino on its reservation.

The tribe was told that if it wanted to expand, it would have to renegotiate a new agreement with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new 2004 agreement cost significantly more, and Pauma filed suit in 2009.

The federal court ruling will save Pauma at least $7.4 million annually through 2022, or more than $65 million. The Pauma tribe will also be repaid for $33 million in past payments to the state through either a return of funds or credit for future payments. Those details will be ironed out at a hearing in April.

A spokesman for the state attorney general's office was not immediately able to comment.

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