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Richmond Indian casino awaits uncertainty with Obama administration

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December 9, 2008

RICHMOND, CA - The Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians have applied to the federal government to restore land at Point Molate for the purpose of building a casino with tribal housing and educational facilities for its members. The government's decision will be made by the next Secretary of the Interior Department appointed in the Obama administration.

The current Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorn has rejected recent applications for off-reservation casinos following the scandals with tribal lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Only a few tribes have won the kind of approval the Guidiville are seeking under a narrow exception to a ban on Indian casinos on land acquired after 1988.

The federal decision is partly regulatory and partly political. That is why the Guidiville and other tribes are eagerly awaiting the president-elect's selection for Interior Secretary.

The Guidiville casino project has political influence behind it. Former Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen is an equity partner.

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