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California’s Tribal Government Gaming and Self-Sufficiency Act

On behalf of this state, the Governor is authorized to execute a Gaming Compact

By Chris Micheli, August 16, 2022 3:36 pm

In November 1998, state voters approved the Tribal Government Gaming and Economic Self-Sufficiency Act by passing Proposition 5. The proposition, which amended state law but not the State Constitution, required the state to enter into a specific compact with Indian tribes to allow certain Class III gambling activities.

California has numerous formal acts in statute. Government Code Title 16, Chapter 1 provides the Tribal Government Gaming and Economic Self-Sufficiency Act of 1998, which is contained in Section 98000 to 98012. Chapter 1 was added by Prop. 5, an initiative. Section 98000 names the chapter.

Section 98001 provides findings by the People of California, including that uncertainties have developed over various issues concerning class III gaming and the development of Tribal-State compacts between the state and tribes, and that those uncertainties have led to delays and considerable expense. This chapter has been enacted as a matter of public policy and in recognition that it fulfills important state needs. All of the factors the state could consider in negotiating a Tribal-State compact under federal law have been taken into account in offering to tribes the terms set forth in the Gaming Compact.

Section 98002 authorizes the Governor to execute on behalf of this state a Gaming Compact containing the terms set forth in Section 98004, and to do so as a ministerial act, without preconditions, within 30 days after receiving a request from a tribe, accompanied by or in the form of a duly enacted resolution of the tribe’s governing body, to enter into such a compact.

Section 98003 provides that any state department or agency, or other subdivision of the state, providing gaming regulatory services to a tribe pursuant to the terms of this chapter, including a Gaming Compact entered into, is authorized to require and receive reimbursement from the tribe for the actual and reasonable costs of those services in accordance with a fee schedule to be agreed to by the tribe and the state that is based on what the state gaming agency reasonably charges other government agencies for comparable services.

Section 98004 specifies that the State of California hereby offers to any federally recognized Indian tribe that is recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as having jurisdiction over Indian lands in California that are eligible for gaming under IGRA, and any such tribe may request, and enter into with the state, a Gaming Compact containing specified terms and conditions.

Section 98005 provides that the Gaming Compact offered in Section 98004 is deemed agreed to, approved, and executed by the State of California in the event a request therefor is duly made by a federally recognized Indian tribe and it is not executed by the Governor within the time prescribed in this chapter.

Section 98006 states that the gaming authorized pursuant to this chapter, including, but not limited to, the gaming authorized pursuant to the Gaming Compact set forth in Section 98004, is not subject to any prohibition in state law now or hereafter enacted. In addition, the specified forms of gaming are permitted and authorized to be conducted on Indian lands by a tribe that has entered into a Tribal-State compact with the state pursuant to this chapter, IGRA, or any other law.

Section 98007 provides that, if any provision of this chapter is held invalid, that invalidity may not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

Section 98008 states that the Governor is authorized and directed to execute any documents that may be necessary to implement this chapter.

Section 98009 provides that the provisions of the Gaming Compact set forth in Section 98004 are incorporated into state law, and all gaming activities, including, but not limited to, gaming devices, authorized are expressly declared to be permitted as a matter of state law to any Indian tribe entering into the Gaming Compact in accordance with this chapter.

Section 98010 specifies that nothing in this chapter may be construed to limit the ability of a federally recognized Indian tribe to request that a Tribal-State compact be negotiated with the state on terms that are different from those set forth in the Gaming Compact under this chapter, or the ability of the state to engage in those negotiations and to reach agreement under IGRA.

Section 98011 provides that no amendment to the Gaming Compact under this chapter requires further approval by the Legislature or the electorate. Section 98012 provides that this chapter may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, but only to further the purposes of this Act.

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