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Card Rooms Argue That Indians Who Plan First Urban Casino Aren't a Legitimate Tribe

October 05, 2002|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians that hopes to open California's first urban casino isn't legitimately a tribe, card rooms that oppose the competition argued in court papers Friday.

The band plans to convert a San Pablo card room into a Las Vegas-style casino across the bay from San Francisco as early as Dec. 7, when the federal government is scheduled to take the card room property into trust for the tribe.

Four Bay Area card rooms and several community allies on Friday asked a federal judge in Sacramento to stop the land transfer.

They argued that the tribe hasn't followed all the legal steps necessary to prove that its members constitute a legitimate tribe.

A tribal spokesman, Doug Elmets, countered that the tribe is recognized by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

He noted that the card rooms had failed in their initial challenge before U.S. District Court Judge David F. Levi this summer. Levi rejected their efforts to throw out Proposition 1A, which authorized tribal casinos in March 2000.

The card rooms are appealing that decision.

"They've already lost one round, and they are clearly grasping at straws," Elmets said.

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