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Clock Stops as Rincon Case Appealed

After setting a 60-day schedule for the state to negotiate a new gaming deal with the Rincon Band of Luise & #324;o Indians, a federal judge has stopped the clock at the state’s request.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William McCurine Jr. set a hearing on the issue for June 2.

McCurine had originally given the state of California two months to hammer out a new gaming deal with Rincon. The American Indian tribe wants to expand the number of slot machines at its casino northeast of Escondido, but couldn’t reach terms with the state.

McCurine ruled April 29 that the state had failed to negotiate in good faith. In addition to the 60-day deadline, the judge said if the parties failed to reach agreement, he would turn the dispute over to an arbitrator.

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The state disagrees that it had negotiated in bad faith, and the state attorney general’s office appealed McCurine’s ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 8.

The tribal-state agreement, called a compact, specifies the terms under which tribes may operate slot machines on their reservations. The Rincon tribe wants to expand beyond the 1,600 slot machines permitted under its current deal with the state. Rincon leaders say they are entitled to at least 2,000 slot machines.

Rincon’s casino is run by Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

, Brad Graves

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