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Lawmakers OK Gambling Ban to Stop Spread of Tribal Casinos

From Associated Press

The Arizona House completed legislative action on a statewide casino-gambling ban Thursday, giving Gov. Fife Symington the legal ammunition he sought to fight the spread of federally sanctioned American Indian gambling.

The move was the latest example of backlash against a federal law implemented last year that has spurred construction or plans for big reservation casinos in several states. More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging the law.

The legislation passed the House 31 to 27, after clearing the Senate earlier this week, 16 to 14.

Doug Cole, Symington’s press secretary, said the governor would sign the bill into law today.

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“What we’re talking about here is protecting Arizona and our quality of life and balancing that with the needs of the tribes,” Symington said after fellow Republicans pushed the anti-gambling legislation through the House.

Rep. Jack Jackson, a Navajo lawmaker, said he would protest the gambling ban by refusing to participate in the prayer and pledge of allegiance that begin each daily session of the House.

Others said they feared the consequences if large casinos were allowed on the state’s 20 reservations.

“I don’t believe full-scale casino gambling will produce anything but misery,” Majority Leader Brenda Burns (R-Glendale) said.

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The legislation would ban all casino-type gambling in Arizona, including charity “casino night” fund-raisers.


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