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Fort Sill Apaches hosting poker tournaments at NM casino

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June 25, 2008


DEMING, NM - The Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma held an invitation-only poker tournament Sunday at their casino off Interstate 10. There were 16 players paying $50 each to enter the 4-hour tournament. The grand prize was $10,000 which will pay the entry fee into July's World Championship No-Limit Texas Holdem in Las Vegas.

Tribal Chairman Jeff Houser says the tribe will hold a poker tournament at the casino every week. Houser says poker is Class 2 gaming, and the tribe should be allowed to hold it at its casino. He hopes this will force a decision on the legality of gambling at the casino.

If the National Indian Gaming Commission orders the casino closed, it will create a legal basis for the tribe to sue the commission. Last month an attorney from the National Indian Gaming Commission said there is no basis under federal law for the Oklahoma tribe to operate a casino on its land at Akela Flats.

A spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson said it is too early to say whether the governor will order another state blockade to block access to the tribal land.

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