Feinstein legislation deal would block major expansion of San Pablo casino 5-9-07

SAN PABLO, Calif. (AP) - An agreement announced Thursday would
effectively block the possibility of an Indian casino expanding into
a vast Las Vegas-style gambling center.

Under the deal contained in legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, D-Calif., the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians could continue
to operate several hundred electronic bingo machines and poker games
at its 70,000-square-foot casino in San Pablo.

Under the new deal, if the tribe sought to expand to so-called
“Class III” gambling, such as slot machines, craps or “banked”
card games such as blackjack and baccarat, it would be required to go
through a rigorous federal process required of tribes that want to
open casinos on newly acquired land.

Such a proposal would require approval from the governor and U.S.
secretary of the interior.

Three years ago the tribe proposed transforming the facility into a
600,000-square-foot “Class III” casino with 5,000 slot machines,
which would have been the state's largest. Because of opposition,
tribal officials scaled back the plan, finally announcing they were
shelving Nevada-style gaming altogether, and would stick with
electronic bingo and other games that don't require state approval.

But the tribe left open the option of reviving its slots plan in the future.

“This is a win-win,” Feinstein said. “By effectively foreclosing
the possibility of a major expansion of the Lyttons San Pablo casino,
this legislation ensures that a major Nevada-style casino will not be
built in the Bay Area in the near future.”

Feinstein's legislation would prevent any expansion of the physical
structure of the casino now or in the future.
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