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US SENATE panel to examine Indian gaming

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate Indian Affairs Committee plans to hold oversight hearings to review the law governing Indian gaming, its staff director said Thursday.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Wednesday sent a letter to the committee chairman, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, requesting a hearing. Staff director Patricia Zell said it was already in the works, though no date has been set.

``We had already discussed, before the changeover in the Senate, hearings on oversight of Indian gaming,'' said Zell, who also is the committee's chief counsel.

McCain said the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 needs review, in part because there are claims that non-American Indian investors profit far more than tribe members. Reservation gaming is intended to benefit the tribes.

The act allows for limited state regulation of casino gambling by requiring that a federally recognized tribe enter into a gaming compact with the state.

The Boston Globe has reported that investors took $1 billion in profits from the Mohegan Sun casino in southeastern Connecticut, in apparent evasion of federal laws.

Trading Cove and spokesmen for the tribe have denied any wrongdoing.

Both McCain and Zell stressed that they want a wide-ranging review of the act, and not just an examination of the Mohegan issue.
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