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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., decided not to offer an amendment that would have prohibited the Secretary of the Interior from approving a class III gaming compact for the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming. The compact has not been agreed to by the state.

Enzi chose not to offer the amendment because the matter is still pending in the federal court of appeals and he wants to continue to foster a cooperative approach to economic development with the Northern Arapaho tribe.

"I appreciate the tribe's efforts to work with me on this issue and I want that to continue. I hope we can make further progress on other economic development projects that will produce long-term benefits for members of the Wind River Tribes," said Enzi. "The state of Wyoming has appealed the decision by Judge Johnson. I would like to see where things are after the legal dust settles. I'll consider what course of action to take then, if any."

Even though Enzi chose not to move forward with legislation at this time, his position has not changed.

"I have and will continue to oppose casino gambling in Wyoming and federal intrusion on state gambling laws," he said.

Background

Under the Indian Gaming Regulator Act (IGRA), the Northern Arapaho Tribe requested the State of Wyoming to enter into negotiations on a Tribal-State class III gaming compact. The state is by law required to enter into negotiations on gaming allowed under state law.

In February 2002, U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson determined that the State of Wyoming had not negotiated in good faith on certain types of Calcutta and pari-mutuel betting and ordered the state and the tribe to enter into a compact within 60 days. No agreement was reached during the 60-day negotiation period. As a result, Johnson appointed retired U.S. District Judge Jim Carrigan to act as the mediator in resolving the dispute.

Carrigan, under IGRA, was required to select from the two proposals the one that best comports with the terms of the Act, any other applicable state and federal law, and the findings and order of the District Court. Carrigan selected the Tribe's "Last Best Offer." The state did not accept the mediator's decision. The compact will now proceed to the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe class III gaming procedures.

The state appealed Johnson's final ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.