Rincon Tribe Comments on Governor Newsom’s Response to Department of the Interior Disapproval of Two Tribal Gaming Compacts “WE SUPPORT DOI’s DECISION”

Valley Center, CA… The Rincon Tribe stands by the Department of Interior (DOI) on their implementation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) as originally intended by Congress. We applaud the DOI for standing up to Governor Newsom’s misguided and illegal gaming compact policy by rejecting the Middletown Rancheria and Santa Rosa Rancheria gaming compacts. We strongly believe this is simply bad business.

Governor Newsom’s recent press statement denouncing the DOI decision fails to clearly inform the public that not a single compact negotiated by his Administration has been approved by the Department. The Rincon Tribe has authored dozens of letters to the office of the Governor explaining in detail the illegal overreaching into sovereign areas not directly related to the regulation of gaming and the illegal taxation of tribal gaming revenue. Governor Newsom does not inform the public that more than two dozen tribes are currently in litigation with the State over his illegal compact policy and that the federal courts have consistently ruled against the State.

The Rincon Tribe operates its successful gaming facility, Harrah’s Resort Southern California, without a compact agreement with the State. For years, the Rincon Tribe has watched with dismay that the State of California has ignored the directives of the DOI and has continued on a path of bad faith in negotiating compacts and amendments with our sister tribes. We must protect the future of all federally recognized tribes. The latest disapproval of compacts by the DOI comes on the heels of last year’s decision in the federal court finding that Governor Newsom failed to negotiate in good faith with the Chicken Ranch Rancheria and four other tribes. Rather than follow the direction of the Department of the Interior and the federal courts, Governor Newsom issued a press release accusing the Department of acting arbitrarily in rejecting his compact policy. The intent of IGRA is not arbitrary, but law.

Rincon was an active participant in forging a successful partnership with the People of California in the passage of Proposition 1A in the spring of 2000. The compacts Rincon and more than sixty tribes reached with the State in the fall of 1999 set the foundation for a hugely successful relationship between the Tribes and their surrounding communities, generating tens of thousands of jobs and infusing untold millions into local economies. Since that historical relationship was forged, the State of California has quietly and progressively eroded those agreements to the point that the current gaming compact negotiation policy is unrecognizable.

It is our hope the Governor, his staff and the Department of the Interior sit down face to face and try to understand each other’s position. Perhaps we can all develop a sound fair compact, which addresses the true intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In the true spirit of Government- to- Government relations, which Governor Newsom has embraced and is personally committed to, we should read and embrace the detailed analysis in the dozens of letters from the Department and the mounting body of federal court decisions to establish a new gaming compact policy that sticks to the lawful regulation of gaming activities.


About the Rincon Tribe
The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians is a sovereign government recognized by the United States of America. The Tribe owns Harrah’s Resort Southern California and uses profits from this and other commercial enterprises to provide government services including police and environmental enforcement; economic development; healthcare and culture programs; and a tribal court. At no cost to taxpayers, Rincon’s public safety operations respond to emergencies in the neighboring communities, with more than a majority of calls generating outside the Reservation. Rincon’s tribal enterprises are significant contributors to the North San Diego County economy through job creation, tax generation, purchase of local products and services and charitable donations. www.rincon-nsn.gov.