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San Manuel Can Add 5,500 Slots Without Voter Approval

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January 21, 2008

SAN BERNARDINO - The federal government has given final approval to add 5,500 more slot machines to the San Manual Indian Casino, which currently has 2,000 slots. The decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior was published in the Federal Register last Friday.

The San Manuel will not face a voter referendum in the February 5th election for approval. The tribe is not included in the propositions facing four other Southern California tribes. Each tribes received state and federal approval to expand their number of slot machines, but the special-interest opposition filed referendums against the other four tribes and did not file one against the San Manuel Band.

The organizers of the signature drives that brought Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97 include UNITE, a labor union that would like to organize employees in all Indian casinos, and owners of horse tracks in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay areas. Unlike the four tribes in the propositions, San Manuel already has a labor union, the Communication Workers of America, and it does joint promotions with horse racetracks.

If San Manual installs all 5,500 slot machines, they will pay the state of California an estimated $7.2 billion over the term of the agreement which runs through 2030.

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